The Aggie was host to a funk filled evening with local electro-juggernauts, Juno What?!, and dirty jazz impresarios, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe. This combination lent itself to some stellar collaboration during the opening set. Once again the crowd was slow to arrive, but that didn’t stop Juno What?! from bringing the heat early and often. Consisting of Motet members Joey Porter, Dave Watts, and Excellent Gentlemen keyboardist Steve Watkins, Juno What?! is rapidly becoming the biggest dance party on the Front Range. The set consisted of a lot of Juno What?! originals including some new songs. Matt Pitts of The Motet sat in early to add his horn to the mix. They debuted a song entitled “Rage And Rally,” a funky voice box tune about the need for persistence in partying. “Stranger” was another new one, but classics like “Shameless” and “What You See Is What You Get” made it into the rotation. The room quickly filled and soon it was a tight mesh of hippies, beatniks, and college kids. The highlight of the show was a Tiny Universe parade through their set that included sit-ins from guitarist DJ Williams, Karl Denson as well as the Cosmic Horns. They rounded it all out with a massive version of Eddy Grant’s classic “Electric Avenue.” Juno What?! has continued to bring the fun every time they perform. Got get yourself some electro-funk whenever possible.
Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe were joined for much of the night by The Cosmic Horns a three-piece section included Slightly Stoopid’s DeLa. I have to say that the additional brass really filled out the overall sound. The Tiny Universe has long been a favorite of mine, going back to seeing them for the first time in a sweaty dive bar in Iowa. They bring veracity to their playing that is simply infectious and can cause even the most foot-planted fan to dance absurdly. Early in the set a version of The Beatles’ “Hey Jude” got everyone’s attention. KDTU also performed their incredible original “Stealin’” which is a funk fueled indictment of the rich and powerful. Local standout Kim Dawson has recently been performing across the country with Karl Denson and the Aggie was no exception. She took the microphone for an interstellar version of The Doors’ “Light My Fire.” Denson himself transitioned from sax to flute to the mic seamlessly, truly playing the role of bandleader. Williams on guitar is an absolute shredder who just sits back and does his thing. The band quite simply sounded fantastic. “My Baby” was yet another highlight in a show jam-packed with musical highs. It’s nice to see KDTU making the festival circuit this year. With already announced sets at Jazz Fest, Summer Camp, and Wakarusa Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe will be making plenty of waves this summer. I hope KDTU continues to tour regularly and spread that good gospel of funk.
Black Rock City, NV Words & Photos by Andrew Wyatt The first time I was born again, I was no more than a 12-year-old tadpole of a kid wriggling his way through chilly baptismal waters of my father’s tiny, rural Southern Baptist church. The first time I was born into the narrow confines of evangelical religion. The second time I was born again, I was a gangly young man born into the big, wide, roiling sea of the infinite universe. And it all happened on a pirate ship and a wacky dance club at Burning Man. In 2002, I was a self-doubting preacher unsure whether to continue a fledgling career calling, when a voluptuous mountain guide neighbor asked if I would join her on a week-long experience at Burning Man. “After the week is over, and you still want to preach. Then great. If not, then you’re welcome!” she piped up. Hesitantly I agreed. “Burning Man,” wrote journalist Daniel Pinchbeck in his book, Breaking Open the Head , “is more decadent than Andy Warhol’s Factory, more glamoro
Hill Auditorium University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI Words & Photos by J. Picard In the early 1970s the music world shifted with the coming of a transformative collaboration between John McLaughlin and Zakir Hussain. The result was a relatively short-lived but incredibly impactful project that grew from the chance encounter. Shakti, from its inception, was destined to change not only the sound of Indian music and jazz, but the possibilities of musical collaboration as a whole. Nearly fifty years later, the impact of this project that began in 1974 and concluded in 1978, is immeasurable and spans generations of listeners. 2023 marked the return of Shakti, the release of a new album ( In This Moment ) and an extensive tour that wrapped around the globe from Europe to the United States. From the announcement of the American tour dates, it was decided that we would be making the long journey from Denver, CO to Ann Arbor, MI for a show at Hill Auditorium at the University of Michigan
Bank of NH Pavilion Gilford, NH Words & Photos by Arlene Brown What happens when you have 9,000 people attending the biggest group therapy session of our lives? You get almost every single person at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion in tears for an experience none of us will never forget. Disturbed’s “Take Back Your Life” tour swept through Gilford, NH with so much raw and honest emotion led by the breathtaking David Draiman, vowing to each and every person there that our lives matter and that our lives are important. Mental health affects everyone; either ourselves or someone we know who is living with depression, anxiety, and/or other debilitating issues. “We are not alone.” Disturbed’s night started with their normal “Hey You,” “Stupify,” and the pyro backed “Ten Thousand Fists” in which everyone was pumping their fists (not phones) in the air. Every single person was singing every single word to every single song. The whole night. It’s been a LONG time since I’ve seen a crowd
Deschutes County Fairgrounds Redmond, OR Words by Ryleigh Hutson & Alexander Fornes We are counting down the days to the first-ever, Cascade Equinox Festival taking place September 22-24th. As we close out the summer months and welcome in the fall, we come to the Deschutes County Fairgrounds in Redmond, OR & explore a diverse and eclectic blend of music including Jam, Electronic, Funk, Bluegrass, and Soul acts. With so many artists and genres to explore, it may be overwhelming to plan which are a must-see, and which sets you’ll spontaneously stumble upon. This could be one of the greatest line-ups Central Oregon has yet to see. The following are 5 artists not to miss at Cascade Equinox! 1. Pretty Lights Electronic music pioneer Derek Smith (Pretty Lights) is following a five year hiatus and Cascade Equinox is boasting its headliner as his only Pacific Northwest performance on his Soundship Spacesystem Tour . Pretty Lights took the hiatus at the top of his game after his 10th ye