“That’s Love, Denver”: Oddisee treats Cervantes’ Other Side

By Daniel Paiz

On a brisk Tuesday evening in December, Oddisee treats Denver to a concisely enjoyable show at Cervantes’ Other Side. The DC emcee and producer brought along his animated band Good Compny (that’s the right spelling for them, no “a”) for an intimate yet bouncy show that had something for everybody. Band members included Olivier St. Louis (keys), Jon Laine (drums), DJ Unown (MPC/DJ), and Dennis Turner (bass). Every member brought their massive skills, seasoned chemistry, and jokes to the stage.

Playing Cervantes’ Other Side was a fantastic booking choice for their Denver stop. The smaller venue brought everyone together naturally, and the energy between the performers and the crowd was built several times over. These guys are clearly in the middle of their tour, as things resonated so smoothly.

Tracks spanning the discography

For whatever era of Oddisee you first heard his music, tonight you likely heard something that was part of your introduction. From stuff over a decade old to 2022 releases, Oddisee ran the gambit and did so with seemingly no impact from the altitude (which he stated he ran for in preparation for this show). “Ready to Rock”, “Like Really”, “Own Appeal” and many others were some of the gems dropped with the sonic guidance of Bad Compny. Turner on the bass added layers to the steady drumming of Lane; meanwhile St. Louis frankly did a solid Percy Miracles (Phonte singing for those who don’t know) impersonation while whispering to those keys.

“That’s Love” was likely what fans recognized the most, and the crowd ad-libbing the song’s chorus under Oddisee’s direction was one of those show-defining moments. This emcee had the crowd responding before he asked them to, causing big smiles and laughter from this emcee and bandmembers. There were moments as well when the songs had more somber tones to them. Oddisee has a lot to say, and plenty of observations to give.

“People Watching” and “Try Again” are two unreleased tracks from the 2023 album To What End and both had more reflective moods. “Try Again” has some encouragement laced within its lines, as Oddisee prefaced the song by saying that everyone who has given up on something should try again.

“Feel Free to Feel Good”

We always tell people at our shows, feel free to feel good. You can leave the cool at the door. We’re goofy up here.”

-Oddisee getting the crowd to relax and unwind

Something that I hadn’t encountered in a while was that instant back and forth that happens in a smaller venue. Oddisee shared how things were going on the road, news about his family, starting his own music label, and more. The fellas bounced off of each other and it was apparent the chemistry built on this trip. Oddisee hasn’t been around as long as The Roots, but it had that level of comfort and compatibility to it onstage. Another show-defining moment was during a brief tour story, as Oddisee shared an interaction with his partner:

I get a text from my wife, and she asks, “Did you hear the news?”

Living here in America, I’m thinking “no, not another mass shooting” and I respond, “where was the mass shooting?”

And you know, I’m on tour, out here in the Midwest, these people crazy, and *audience laughs*

My wife is Moroccan, and she says “No! Morocco beat Spain!” and she’s very excited, and,

I think she was disappointed with me, because I was more relieved than excited about it *audience laughs again*

Oddisee mentioning how excited his wife was about Morocco beating Spain in the FIFA World Cup

Anecdotes like that are what draw a fanbase into an artist, and also how one gains new fans. Stories like this that have that recognition of the times we live in, while also adding some levity with humorous moments are vital. It makes sense why Oddisee told the audience about being goofy and having a good time; the world of today seems to offer fewer moments to do so lately. Thankfully tonight was full of them, and it would’ve been a real challenge finding someone leaving without some form of a smile plastered on their face.

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