In 1919 John Thompson opened up The Ogden Theatre on Colfax Avenue. Fast forward almost 100 years and J2G Live with Listen up Denver present the Dance Party Time Machine. A Friday evening collaborative jam, packed with a staggering presence of more than 40 of Denver’s finest local musicians, and a handful of nationally based special guests. Last night Jonah Wisneski, SUCH, Dechen Hawk, Blake Mobley, Mathenee Treco, Aubrie Hamrick, Jeff Prah, Ryan Jalbert, Dave Watts, Gabe Mervine, members of: Euforquestra, YAMN, Ryan Bingham Band, Rose Hill Drive, Fox Street, Kinetix, Tiger Party, Mountain Standard Time, Analog Son, Filthy Children, Dynohunter, Ableminds, Rally ‘Round The Family, Marc Brownstein, Alan Aucoin and Aron Magner of the Disco Biscuits, as well as David Murphy of Seven Arrows completely tore the Ogden apart.I
This very special evening was constructed to take you on a multi-era time warp of dance classics, guaranteed to keep your feet moving and your brain guessing what would be played next. The night started off in the alley on the West side of The Ogden, where, in true time travel fashion, a DeLorean rolled up with Doc Brown. A quick photo shoot took place with the massive collective of musicians, marking the beginning of the second annual Dance Party Time Machine.
Inside, The Ogden filled up fast as set one commenced in the 1980’s era with “Love never felt so good.” Moving at 1.21 gigawatts, lights began to flash, smoke covered the stage, musicians disappeared and you were quickly transported to 1955, with “Tutti Frutti,” spinning your head on “A-wop-bom-a-loo-mop-a-lomp-bom-bom!” The machine was well orchestrated to say the least. As one can only imagine the undertaking involved with such a massive flux of musicians moving on and off stage throughout the evening. Every few songs this process repeated taking you an adventure of musical eras through time and space,. The Dance Party Time Machine had all corners covered from Daft Punk, Beck, New Order, and the Bangles to Michael Jackson and Duran Duran. While the show went on, it made me wonder how many of these classics had been performed at the Ogden over the last several decades.
With such a well-rounded crew of professional musicians working together, the night went off flawlessly. Everyone traveled through time together on the same note, with styles melting and musicians fueling off of each others solos. The jam scene here can be extremely incestuous with circles constantly intertwining, much akin to a venn diagram with Colorado at the center, last night may have been the apex of this. Collectives of this magnitude create the opportunity for musicians to explore extemporaneous jams with musicians they may have just met, giving birth to boundaries being broken and musically covalent bonds being forged. Nights like these are few and far between; where emerging musicians collide with established names over eras of hits that would make any music fan smile. With that being said, next year when you are deciding how to stay warm on a freezing Friday night in Denver’s November, try time traveling at the Dance Party Time Machine.