On Friday afternoon I made some last minute plans to attend a Halloween show in NYC; Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe at the Bowery Ballroom. I had tentatively planned to join in the debauchery of the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade, but when I heard KDTU was doing a Michael Jackson tribute and that several of my college friends were reuniting for the event, I decided to “book a ticket” for will-call.
On Saturday night I put on my Black Opal Shadow superhero costume and Paul and I headed to the show. After re-charging at my crystal light source of power, (pictured) we grabbed a couple beers at a German Bar, Loreley’s. I had a delicious (that’s “köstlich” in German) Oktoberfest Weizenbier! I loved it! Not exactly sure what brand name the beer was, but it’s tap was green, if that means anything to you.
Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe put on a fantastic, funkalicious performance! I am going to try my best to re-cap the event, but I have to be up front. Aside from writing down the lyrics to a short song Diaz and I made up entitled “The Ambulance Song,” I did not record a single note all evening. I don’t have an exact re-call of the set list, nor can I find one on the Internet. I believe that KDTU played a mixture of their own songs along with Michael Jackson covers.
Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe consist of the following members: Karl Denson on vocals, tenor sax, alto sax and flute, Brian Jordan on guitar, Ron Johnson on bass, David Veith on keyboards, Chris Littlefield on trumpet and John Staten on drums.
Band members were dressed in ensembles resembling that of the late “King of Pop.” If MJ is considered the King of Pop, well then, at least for last night, I felt as though Karl Denson was the King of Funk. I danced hard for a majority of the show. It is so incredible to me that these musicians have the talent and ability to play horn instruments with such rhythm and longevity. I bet they are great underwater swimmers!
KDTU had a great opening act, NOMO. NOMO is a large band (their website states 11 band members, along with “many, many more.”) Mostly lead by horns and percussion, NOMO most certainly had the crowd dancing, shaking and spinning. All band members wore hairy wolf masks on stage, and threw a few out to the crowd when they were trying to rally up a dance off.
I was standing at the bar when all the members of NOMO passed by us to head on stage, and I poked each one with an orange glow stick. It was a little good luck/Halloween salute I gave to them. I think it really helped pump up their energy for the set!
I don’t normally listen to Karl Denson, but it is now clear to me that I have been missing out! I really was not sure what to expect of them, aside from a good time. Their Halloween performance was energetic, entertaining and very enjoyable! A female guest vocalist, who’s name I can not seem to hunt down via Internet, sang select Michael Jackson numbers and even had an awesome MJ inspired choreograph to “Billie Jean,” including robot-like hand movements and The Moonwalk. Judging by the look of surprise in pleasure on the band members’ faces, I think even they were awed by this wonderful artist’s impersonation.
(Guest vocalist pictured on right)
Outside from the Michael Jackson covers, I liked every tune I heard. Most people in the venue seemed to have the same problem as me – couldn’t… stop… dancing…
Though the show was not sold-out, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe drew a pretty decent crowd! I really like the Bowery Ballroom because it has a lower level lounge/bathroom/bar area, the main level with the stage and a large standing (dancing!) area, and a third balcony level with bar and some tables and chairs.
Since it was a Halloween show and all, many concert attendees were dressed to thrill. There was a whole gang of characers from the movie “Batman,” a Russian guy who did an awful lot of hip thrusting, a cereal killer, and my favorite costume, my friend wearing a police man’s hat and badge, along with a costume made to look like bacon. He was a pig! I also enjoyed the guy who wore the grey muumuu dress with red bull’s eyes, like Jon Fishman, drummer for Phish. Through him many of us channeled the spirit of our phriends and phamily grooving to another beat on the west coast at Festival 8!
I was very pleased with my decision to spend $25 on a ticket to the show and the opportunity to spend another memorable and glorious holiday with cherished friends and loved ones. Bring it on, Thanksgiving weekend!
Since I mentioned it earlier, I would like to end this blog with the censored lyrics to my soon-to-be nationwide hit, “The Ambulance Song.” I wouldn’t want to leave any readers suffering with curiosity. Diaz and I came up with this ditty when we were outside the venue on a break.
“Halloween is a time for ghouls and ******. Ambulances driving by, spitting out siren beats. ‘Nobody’s dead, we’re just tricking you…OR TREAT!’”