Karl Denson's Tiny Universe at Ogden, 10/31/12
Eric Gruneisen Karl Denson last night at the Ogden Theatre
KARL DENSON'S TINY UNIVERSE @ THE OGDEN THEATRE |10/31/12
Things witnessed last night at the Ogden Theatre, in no particular order: Rosie the Riveter breakdancing with a samurai; a priest making out with Little Orphan Annie; Milli Vanilli's Rob and Fab sharing a smoke outside; and a drunk monk. On stage, funk bandleader Karl Denson, clad in butt-hugging bell bottom jeans and an Afro big enough to warrant its own orbit, stood in awe of this spectacle. Backed by what seemed like a hundred-piece band, Denson's first question to the audience, "Does anyone here like to dance?" That was answered with resounding, unrestrained shouts of, uh, yes!
Eric Gruneisen DJ Z-Trip as Clark Kent last night at the Ogden Theatre.
Earlier in the evening, Los Angeles DJ Z-Trip's set began as the venue was still filling with volunteers for nonprofit New Era Colorado (a get-out-the-vote campaign focused on young people). They were guests of honor at last night's gig. Z-Trip was spinning his trademark mixes, a little Led Zeppelin mashed with Public Enemy.
Eric Gruneisen Karl Denson and his Tiny band last night at the Ogden Theatre.
A couple hours later Karl Denson and his massive band, featuring no fewer than three string players and four horns, plus a couple keyboardists, guitarists and backing singers, began their set in earnest. "Denver, I'm gonna take you to Funkytown," he informed us, smiling. What followed was a fantastic voyage through the disco-funk landscape of the 1970s. The Bee Gees' "If I Can't Have You" was an early addition, followed by Chic's 1978 megahit "Le Freak."
Eric Gruneisen Disco days are here again -- well, they were, anyway, if just for the night, last night at the Ogden.
On stage Denson is not the center of the, uh, universe, so to speak. He took occasional turns in the spotlight to sing or play saxophone, but his role last night resembled more of an old-school bandleader's than that of a single-minded, limelight-hungry frontman. Which was awesome, since he had such capable help on stage anyway. Denson frequently shook a tambourine or gave little instructions to other bandmembers, never once breaking the smile on his face.