Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe rolled into LA on the “Soul Spectacular” tour, covering funked-out staples from the legendary Ray Charles at the El Rey Theatre. This boogaloo dance party featured Zach Deputy on vocals and as Karl D. put it, the crowd got “Deputized”. Deputy started things off with his one-man jam band that he has coined “Island-Infused Drum n’ Bass Gospel Ninja Soul”, and he warmed up the night quite nicely with that tasty concoction.
After getting “Deputized”, the crowd was treated with a rare LA appearance by New Orleans rocker Anders Osborne. Osborne invited guitarist Neal Casal, best known for his work with Ryan Adams and with The Chris Robinson Band, to sit in on his entire set. Recently, Osborne and Casal have been frequent collaborators at Phil Lesh’s venue Terrapin Crossroads, so we can probably thank good ‘ol Phil for this great pairing of guitar slingers.
Osborne and his band ripped through a ferocious 90-minute set filled with brand-new songs off his recently released album Peace and old goodies like “Burning on the Inside” and “Love Is Taking Its Toll”. One of the set highlights included the title track off his most recent LP that showcased Osborne’s heart-wrenching lyrics, which he bellows out with reckless abandon. Osborne is truly inspiring with his words, and he’s no slouch on the guitar either. The man just plain rips.
KDTU promised a Ray Charles-inspired boogaloo dance party, and that is exactly what they gave. About halfway through his set, Denson welcomed Deputy on stage to belt out the Ray Charles cuts with near-flawless execution. Hammering through classic songs like “Got Me a Woman” and “Hit the Road Jack”, Denson led his group with blistering sax solos. He even flexed his muscles on the flute.
Denson is no stranger to covering artists. He has played sets covering the Rolling Stones’ album Sticky Fingers, and he even covered the Beastie Boys for a select number of dates in the past. This is the first time, however, Denson has gone on a lengthy tour extensively covering one artist, so I recommend finding a show near you.