Is there a more fabulous way to kick off the new year than to see Karl Denson at the BAC? Definitely not. So Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe and opening band Andy Frasco & The U.N. made Wednesday, January 23, a musical night to remember.
Everyone had a blast and a half. Guests got to participate with The U.N. by lifting lead singer and keyboard player Andy Frasco, seated precariously on a flimsy stool, into the air in the middle of the big crowd and dancing the Hora...of all things. After touring the world selling merchandize for a different band, Frasco decided that music was his passion and learned to play the piano. He opened once for Karl Denson but hadn’t officially met him until he accidentally drank one of his beers. “He’s so buff, I was scared for my life,” Frasco said. “I started apologizing to him, and we’ve been friends ever since then.”
Frasco and his wildly talented band play 250 shows a year and travel to 13 different countries. “I feel like in the twelve years that I’ve done this, I’ve learned the most about being on the road from Karl,” Frasco said. “I mean, he looks like he’s twenty-five and he’s sixty. It’s unbelievable.” The band is used to being on the road and living off fast food wherever they stop. “We’re driving for eight hours every day, just grinding it out,” Frasco said. “Karl taught me to go to the grocery store before we get on the road so I can start my day right.”
The U.N. call themselves “a party band.” Their main goal every night is to bring energy into the venue. They consider themselves “the match” and Karl Denson—the Rolling Stones sax player, when he isn’t fronting his own crazy-great band—is the spark to set the crowd on fire. They did, too—pumping the crowd into absolute musical ecstasy. After playing an hour-and-a-half, rocking set, Denson and his band bounded back onto the stage and played a high-energy encore. But this, Denson says, is just who he is by nature. For him, the music is what keeps him going.
Gnomes and Badgers, Denson’s newest album, releasing March 8, is his response to combatting negativity. “I feel like we just don’t talk to each other anymore,” Denson said. “I try to understand the way people think. I think at the end of the day, if we’re just more ‘people’ people, then we’ll figure it all out.” Gnomes and Badgers is about communication and reflection about the way people treat each other in our current day and age.
When asked what he was trying to instill in the diverse generations that listen to his music, Denson said his biggest hope was that people tried to think more critically. “I don’t want people to be set in their bias. I want them to be more self-reflective. People talk to each other, but they don’t listen.”
Unless they’ve got Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe on the turn table. Then, they’re listening.
Written by: Sophia Ficarrotta