Dance Party Time Machine is set to return to Denver’s Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom on February 28th, welcoming back time machine captains Marc Brownstein (The Disco Biscuits), Aron Magner (The Disco Biscuits), Allen Aucoin (The Disco Biscuits) and Mike Greenfield (Lotus) alongside nationally-known newcomers and local favorites for an unforgettable night of dance party classics. Jeff Franca ( Thievery Corporation) will return for this year’s event, and so will Denver-based musical directors Eric Low (Fox Street) and Jonah Wisneski.
Additionally, local musicians like soulful vocalist Jessica Jones (Jessica Jones Project), keyboardist Blake Mobley (Tiger Party), guitarist James Dumm (Coal Town Reunion), and The Magic Beans’ Casey Russel and Scott Hachey are set to take the stage alongside members of Analog Son, YAMN, Rapidgrass, and more. The 2020 iteration also welcomes DPTM debuts from Robert Randolph (Robert Randolph & The Family Band), Natalie Cressman (Trey Anastasio Band) and Jenifer Hartswick (Trey Anastasio Band).
Live For Live Music caught up with some of the names on the bill to find out where they’d take their Dance Party Time Machine, what some of their favorite dance party hits are, favorite moments of past iterations, and what keeps our veterans coming back for more year after year.
L4LM: If you had control of the Dance Party Time Machine who would you take it to see and where would you go?
Robert Randolph: I would wanna be at Studio 54, watching The Bee Gees, Donna Summer and Parliament-Funkadelic.
Aron Magner: Grateful Dead at Winterland, Dylan at Newport Folk Festival, Queen at LiveAid, Santana at Woodstock, Elton John at the Troubadour, Keith Jarrett at Koln, and John Coltrane in 1965. Needless to say, there’s a lot of places I’d like to go and people I’d like to see.
Mike Greenfield: I’d take it to Live Aid 1985. It would be difficult to find a lineup better than that.
Natalie Cressman: James Brown!
Jennifer Hartswick: Michael Jackson, easy.
Blake Mobley: I think James Brown in his prime would have been one of the best dance parties of the century, right? Let’s GOOOO!
Casey Russel: Maybe 1984 for Talking Heads’ tour behind Stop Making Sense. Or to the 40s to Minton’s in NYC to see the creation of bebop.
Jessica Jones: My biggest musical influences are James Brown, George Clinton, and Michael Jackson so we’d be heading back to the 1960s and ’70s for sure.
Eric Low: I would take it back to the late 1970s and go catch some Herbie Hancock and James Brown, for sure.
Jonah Wisneski: Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters in the early 1970s.
James Dumm: James Brown in Zaire or Bob Marley in Jamaica! Led Zeppelin, Stones, Jeff Beck, Cream, Hendrix…
Scott Hachey: I’d travel to the shagadelic late-60’s in London or San Fran and shake it to some psychedelic rock.
L4LM: What are some of your favorite dance party songs of all time or your absolute No. 1?
Robert Randolph: KC & The Sunshine Band’s “That’s The Way I like it.”
Aron Magner: There’s a never-ending list of truly incredible songs of varying degrees of popularity. Recently, I have been listening to the Yacht Rock Spotify playlist while hanging out with Marc Brownstein and we agree that you can pretty much pick any 3-5 songs from that playlist and have it be incredible. Steve Miller Band, Doobie Brothers, SuperTramp. All due up for proper performance.
Natalie Cressman: “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough” and “Thriller” by Michael Jackson, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” by Whitney Houston and Diana Ross’ “I’m Coming Out.”
Jennifer Hartswick: Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” “House Party” by Fred Wesley, Prince’s “I Would Die 4 U,” “Owner Of A Lonely Heart” by Yes, “Never Too Much” by Luther Vandross and “The Power Of Love” by Huey Lewis.
Blake Mobley: I prefer to do most of my dancing in abandoned warehouses to Irene Cara’s classic, “Flashdance… What A Feeling.”
Casey Russel: Anything by Dabuell.
Jessica Jones: “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)” by ABBA is my No. 1.
Eric Low: “Hang Up Your Hangups” by Herbie.
Jonah Wisneski: Anything by the Talking Heads!
James Dumm: “Hot Pants” by James Brown.
Scott Hachey: “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” by Whitney Houston or “Too Close” by Next.
L4LM: For the DPTM veterans, what’s your favorite song that you’ve performed on DPTM in year’s past?
Aron Magner: Performing “Strawberry Letter” with Cory Wong and Antwaun Stanley.
Mike Greenfield: I really enjoyed playing “Electric Avenue” by Eddie Grant a few years ago during Dance Party Time Machine. It was one of the first songs I learned on drums when I was 10 years old and it was fun to play it with some of my favorite musicians on a large stage.
Blake Mobley: The time we played “Dance Hall Days” by Wang Chung. That mustached singer was “strangely erotic.”
Casey Russel: “Freedom!” by George Michael or performing Whitney’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.”
Jessica Jones: I had a blast with “Do Wop (That Thing)” by Lauren Hill a few years ago.
Eric Low: “2001.”
Jonah Wisneski: “Touch Me I’m Going to Scream, Pt. 2” by My Morning Jacket.
James Dumm: White Zombies’ “More Human Than Human.”
L4LM: For those of you returning, what keeps you coming back to DPTM?
Aron Magner: I’m not a songbook guy, so learning these tunes for a performance makes me a more well-rounded musician. But most of all, I’m finding continued pleasure in recent years in playing music with a variety of different musicians. There are so many talented cats out there, particularly in the Denver area.
Mike Greenfield: A lot of the musicians on stage are some of my closest friends that I have been performing with for 20 years. Some have become new friends, such as Cory Wong and Petar. I play in Colorado more than any other state and can never get enough! It has one of the best audiences in the country.
Blake Mobley: Great tunes, even better humans, technologies utilizing advanced quantum mechanics.
Casey Russel: Cause it’s super fun collaborating with all the different musicians and learning the material!
Jessica Jones: It’s a big family reunion that happens once a year with killer musicians and promoters. I look forward to DPTM every year because it’s the one chance we have to get together and have so much fun playing these tunes. I think that’s why it sells out every year, it’s a family reunion for the crowd as well.
Eric Low: The community that has been cultivated through the DPTM shows is really special. We all look forward to seeing each other and getting to make some music all year long. As long as all my best friends are playing and having fun together, I will be here!
Jonah Wisneski: It’s a fantastic opportunity to play with, collaborate, & learn from a myriad of incredible musicians/friends, and has become an annual highlight of the year for me
James Dumm: Just waiting until our event producers,Gary and Jeff, will finally put “I Was Made For Loving You” by KISS on the setlist. “Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doooooooo…”
L4LM: Newbies, who are you most excited to play with on this year’s Dance Party Time Machine or what are you most excited about in joining the 2020 edition?
Robert Randolph: I’m excited to play with Brownie! He brings the low end awesome improv and great spirits.
Natalie Cressman: Robert Randolph! I’ve played with him a few times and he’s a tremendous musician so I think it’ll add a lot to have him.
Jennifer Hartswick: Everybody! But I’m always happy to play with my buddy Robert Randolph.
Scott Hachey: This is my first year, and I’m excited to take part in the fun. So many great musicians, playing fun tunes, what could go wrong!? Amped!
Check out the complete Dance Party Time Machine playlist below.
Dance Party Time Machine – Official Playlist
Randolph will lead a talented group of musicians for a special Robert Randolph & Friends set which will see the pedal steel master joined on stage by celebrated saxophonist Karl Denson (Rolling Stones, Tiny Universe), keyboardist/vocalist Ivan Neville (Dumpstaphunk), trumpeter Rashawn Ross (Dave Matthews Band), drummer Robert Sput Searight (Ghost-Note), and the enigmatic MonoNeon (Ghost-Note, Prince) on bass.
Additionally, Magner’s “mostly acoustic” SPAGA will deliver a special, one-off set of tunes from The Grateful Dead‘s iconic songbook. Featuring Jason Fraticelli on upright bass and Matt Scarano on drums, this jazz trio combines intricate compositions and expert-level improvisation with the exploratory creativity for which Magner’s various bands are known.
Tickets to Brooklyn Comes Alive 2020 are on sale now. A festival pass to Brooklyn Comes Alive grants attendees access to the full schedule of programming across both stages, including the late-night sets. Fans can also purchase late-night-only passes, which grant attendees access to The Great Hall only from 12:00 a.m.–4:00 a.m. Brooklyn Comes Alive late-night passes can be purchased here.