2/8/12-Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe & Anders Osborne Trio
Performing the Rolling Stones 1971 masterpiece Sticky Fingers sounded like quite a challenge for any band to attempt, but I had confidence heading to Webster Hall Wednesday night. Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe is a solid band with all the musical variety to cover such an album, so if they had the confidence to take the show on tour, I had the confidence it would do justice. I have seen KDTU on a number of occasions at a few different festivals last year, including The Hangout, Summercamp, and All Good, but this was the first time seeing them headline a show. Every time I left the stage where they were performing I was so impressed and only wished they had a longer set time. Tonight I was hoping they would pull out all the stops and I would really get to see this band in their element.
Anders Osborne Trio opened up the show with a 4-song/ 45 minute set that sampled the bands musical horizons. He opened up with “Mind of a Junkie,” which immediately gave off that angst driven rock and roll sound, perhaps influenced by Neil Young & Crazy Horse’s Ragged Glory. After about third song the band really hit their stride with a hard-hitting take on “Stoned, Drunk & Naked.” What really stood out for me on this track was the slide work Anders displayed throughout the track. The breakdown on this jam really brought it home and the crowd went nuts. He ended his set with a jam that fused a taste of reggae into his alternative edge with “Burnin’ From the Inside.” Having never heard any of his work I was thoroughly impressed with his performance and could not wait to see how he played with Tiny Universe for Sticky Fingers (he was billed as a special guest for their performance of the album). Here is a look at his set:
Anders Osborne Trio
Mind of a Junkie
Got Your Heart
Stoned, Drunk & Naked
Burnin’ From the Inside
When KDTU took the stage I was glad to hear them start into some original material before going straight into the album. The band powered through five tracks that got me really grooving. They have such a beautiful flow amongst themselves that brings their jams from raging funk back to soulful jazz with ease and precision. I was really going when they broke into “Satisfied,” a track I have seen them play a number of times and never disappoints. The funk was bouncing off the walls off my universe when broke down a killer jam on “Three Trials,” which featured spectacular flute soloing by Denson. The energy was flowing through the crowd and on the stage at this point, which in my opinion really defines the experience of a funk show. As they brought out Anders and jumped into the albums opening track, “Brown Sugar,” Karl shouted out “This is a song about inter-racial sex!” As they went through the album, I found myself continually impressed with the performance. Osborne channeled the raw bluesy edge of Keith Richards to a tea and Tiny Universe guitarist DJ Williams tore through blistering solos one after another. Denson’s vocals brought the deepest soul to “Wild Horses” while Anders was spot on to Mick’s pipes for “Bitch.” “Sister Morphine” stands alone though as the musical high point of the night, bringing everything together and giving me a new appreciation for the structural composition of the Rolling Stones early work. The concluding jam on this take saw the band reach musical peaks in deep realms of space that seemed to slow down time. I had to snap back to reality as they went into “Dead Flowers,” which had the whole crowd singing along to this ironically upbeat song about tortured love. When the band came back out for their encore we once again got down to that funky fusion. Tiny Universe is on the road pretty much year round, if you see they are playing your town check them out! This show was some of the most fun I have had at a concert in months!
Webster Hall; New York, New York
I: Intro Jam>
Sticky Fingers (with Anders Osborne):
Can’t You Hear Me Knocking
You Gotta Move
I Got The Blues
What You Want