Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe favoring blistering rock over jazz

Karl-Denison3Photos by Marc Fong // Written by Kevin Quandt

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe with Quinn Deveaux and the Blue Beat Review //
The Independent – San Francisco
March 14th, 2014 //

A “funkified” evening of soul, jazz and rock was the prize for fans at The Independent last Friday as Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe helmed a superb bill along with local soulman Quinn Deveaux and the Blue Beat Review. Even though these artists generally play SF somewhat regularly, it’s the consistency of these bands that keep fans returning time and time again.

Deveaux opened the evening with a soul-leaning set as the charismatic frontman played to an enthusiastic, early-evening crowd. Among a bevy of strong original songs was a revelrous rendition of The Meters’ “They All Ask’d for You”, which bumped the energy up a little more as folks settled into the weekend.


Denson is a modern, funky jazz legend, having been a sideman to some massive artists before breaking out on his own to form The Greyboy Allstars and KTDU more than a decade ago. The rotating membership of KTDU lends itself to a slightly different band and sound every couple of years.

The band’s current formation leans toward the rock end of the spectrum as compared to the jazz-odyssey style of past KTDU lineups. Guitarist DJ Williams is the likely culprit in creating this harder-edged sound that we currently hear from Denson and company. The group’s usual suspects, such as Chris Stillwell on bass and Chris Littlefield on trumpet, are still present on stage, so don’t fret.


Tracks from Denson’s latest release New Ammo were plentiful as “My Baby” was performed early in the set, featuring Williams playing a swamp-funk slide guitar that mixed nicely into the many styles represented onstage throughout the night. “Everybody Knows That” was another highlight off the Stoopid Records release.

Though Denson started his career backing Lenny Kravitz, mainly keeping to his instruments, he truly is a dynamic leader as he effortlessly jumps between sax, flute, cowbell and vocals. The dance party arrived in the form of the classic KDTU track “Hey Sister”, which traditionally launches the crowd into euphoria as the mix of tempos truly keeps the participants on their toes. A tease of The White Stripes’ modern classic “Seven Nation Army” led to a full cover of this crowd-pleaser, which happens to be featured on the new album. As the evening came to a close after a strong encore, the devoted fans who stayed until the last note left filled to the brim with all that funk they crave so much.

WIN TICKETS: Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe at The Independent 3/14


Photo by Sterling Munksgard //

Enter to win a pair of free tickets to the Friday show below.

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe with Quinn Deveaux and the Blue Beat Review (Fri), Con Brio (Sat) //
The Independent — San Francisco
March 14th & 15th, 2014 (Friday & Saturday) //

Just because you’re bummed you aren’t at SXSW doesn’t mean you can’t have a damned fun weekend seeing exciting bands in SF, and you don’t have to wait in an hours-long line. That’s because Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe will be playing not one, but two shows at The Independent, laying down his uniquely infectious style of funky jazz fusion. Denson himself has one helluva résumé having toured and recorded with Lenny Kravitz before co-founding boogaloo revivalists The Greyboy Allstars. However, Denson has returned to his longtime band for not only a tour, but their first studio album in almost five years.

Friday’s and Saturday’s shows are sure to be replete with some new tracks off of the latest album, New Ammo, released on Slightly Stoopid’s label, Stoopid Records. However, the beauty of KDTU is you never know what you’re gonna hear, as there is a deep bag full of other blazing originals and covers. Quinn Deveaux and The Blue Beat Review open the festivities on Friday, while Con Brio will handle support on Saturday evening. Light in the wallet for this weekend? Well, you may be lucky enough to have your Friday tickets covered right here.

Click here to buy tickets Friday’s show if you know you want to go.
Tickets for Saturday’s show with Con Brio are available here.


Enter to win if you can attend this show Friday, March 14th at The Independent in SF.

Submit your full name and email address below.
Contest ends Friday, March 14th at Noon. Winners will be picked at random & notified by email. Your email will be kept private – we will share your email with no one. 21+ only.

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Usher in the Indie-an Summer with Noise Pop’s 20th Street Block Party!

Block-PartyWritten by Molly Kish //

20th Street Block Party //
Mission District – San Francisco
August 24th, 2017 //

August is a hot month for music in the Bay Area! It’s a time that caters to the concertgoer, when competing venues stack their calendars with talent harvested from festival bills circulating throughout Northern CA. Late August will fill your pockets full of ticket stubs and your complexion with some Vitamin D, marking the unofficial start to our Indian summer.

Local indie powerhouses Noise Pop and friends (Do 415, Ne Tiemas, Nomic and The Bon Vivants) are teaming up to throw one hell of a FREE food and music celebration next month. The 20th Street Block Party will highlighting the local spirit, culture, diversity and artistic collectives of the outer Mission and Dogpatch neighborhoods.

The 2013 lineup highlights some of the most creative and successful innovators in hospitality and entertainment the Bay Area has to offer. Admission is FREE and all ages are welcomed. If interested in libations, bring a valid ID or Driver’s License and the event is entirely smoke-free.


A wide array of musical talent will be on display at the 20th Street Block Party. Offering a taste of talent both native and nationally recognized, this year’s bill has a little something to tickle the eardrums of just about everyone in attendance.

Two Gallants

Mac DeMarco

Quinn Deveaux and the Blue Beat Review


Local businesses will be providing some incredible Food & Drinks!

• The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen
• Asiento
• Atlas Cafe
• Blowfish
• Central Kitchen
• Coffee Bar
• flour + water
• Rhea’s Deli
• Salumeria
• Sightglass
• Trick Dog
• Benders Bar & Grill
• Jay’n Bee Club

Along with deals, discounts and delectable treats, Ne Timeas Restaurant Group will also be sponsoring a Food Workshop Tent with DIY demonstrations on food preparation, pasta making, pizza tossing and creative cooking tips throughout the day.


A variety of local craft vendors will be on site engaging with the community, demonstrating their trades, sampling their products and hosting a ton of interactive activities for all ages.

• Alite
• Artspan
• The Bay Bridged
• Crossroads Trading Co.
• Insymmetry Massage
• J.Fein Designs
• Last Gasp Books
• Mission Cliffs
• Mission Creek Merchants Association
• Moxie Yoga
• Mutiny Radio
• Pretty Parlor a GOGO
• Radio Silence
• Side Stage Photo
• Southern Exposure
• TopShelf Boutique
• Z Space


Continuing the party into the evening hours, Mission Dispatch and NWBLK Events will be hosting an after party from 6-10 p.m. featuring continued festivities, food, drinks and music for those not ready to call it quits after the block party.

An all ages affair, with a $5 suggested donation price, one can easily saunter over to the 1975 Bryant St. location from the 20th Street Block Party for a nightcap and final bite with this current roster of participants.

• Derby Cocktail
• Fuki Truck
• Phat Thai
• Burr-Eatery
• Garden Creamery
• Grandma Jean’s Whoopie Pie


The 20th Street Block Party takes place on August 24th from Noon-6 p.m. The after party goes from 6-10 p.m.

The 20th Street Block Party will be located between 19th and 20th St. in the Mission District, San Francisco, taking over the areas enclosed between Bryant and Harrison streets as well as the alleyway of Florida St.

Bike parking will be located at the main entrance of the Block Party on 20th and Harrison, with absolutely no vehicle access to the event area. Public transit is highly encouraged and available via the 27 and 12 bus lines.