Bowlive IV Night 7 Recap w/ George Porter Jr., Leo Nocentelli & The Shady Horns : Next Up Kids Bowl / George Porter Jr. + The Shady Horns
Friday nights are always fun at the Brooklyn Bowl. There is a relaxed weekend vibe. Everyone is ready to dance, eat Blue Ribbon fried chicken and enjoy a rich Brooklyn brewed lager. We had hit night seven of eight of Soulive’s Brooklyn Bowl residency and Soulive was prepped for the beginning of the end. I wish I could say the same for the audience. Understanding that the band must be weary, there are those fans who just simply can’t ever get enough of virtuoso guitarist Eric Krasno, soul drummer Alan Evans and one of the unique keyboardists of our generation, Neal Evans. As these three musical wizards warmed up over the week, the energy has radiated to an outstanding level. The boundaries of their musical talents have been pushed to the limits by the guests that have graced the stage with them.
Leroy Justice set the pace tonight with their garage rock sound. Leroy Justice is a legitimate rock n roll band consisting of the charismatic Jason Gallagher (guitar/vocals), Sloan Marshall (keys), Bradley Wegner (bass), Josh Karis (drummer), Justin Mazer (guitarist). Their eclectic, southern, hard-rocking sound and on stage presence taps into The Doors, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers and The Black Crowes. The keyboard was covered in an American flag and Pennsylvania license plates decorated the amps. The slamming rhythm section drove the songs that varied in styles from hard rock to southern blues with harmonica and got the crowd in dancing mode.
Over the seven nights of Bowlive IV’s run, Soulive has delivered the audience a Stax appreciation night with Memphis blues keyboardist Booker T. Jones, a southern rock throw down with guitarist Luther Dickinsion and drummer Cody Dickinson and a psychedelic jazz night with experimental jazz keyboardist John Medeski and saxophonist Bill Evans. Last night, Soulive brought it back to their roots; back to their initial passion of soul and funk, with special guests bassist George Porter, Jr. and guitarist Leo Nocentelli, of the legendary 1970’s funk band, The Meters. Soulive opened their set, just the three of them, with an amazing rendition of “Steppin” and “Eleanor Rigby.” The trio was on fire, each taking a little time to shine through the tune. Wasting no time at all, Alan Evans introduced “a first in Bowlive History, y’all!” Guitarist Leo Nocentelli, one of the original forming members of the greatest New Orleans funk band ever, was up on deck for the rest of the set. With the help of The Sandy Horns, Nocentelli , “Rudy’s Way” and “Hat Trick.” It was nice to see Nocentelli and Krasno trading funky licks amongst the traditionally jazzy tunes. Neal’s hands were pounding away at the bass keys and his legs were constantly in motion, dancing behind his kit. Everyone was pumped up as bassist George Porter, Jr. was invited out for “Come Back Jack” and “Cissy Strut,” the songs that made the Meter’s a household name, was supported by Porter’s funky bass riffs. Porter exited and Nocentelli continued on vocals for Stevie Wonder’s “Jesus Children on America” into “Want Me To Stay.” To say that the band was excited was a gross understatement. The energy flowing between the musicians and through the audience was like a supernova, with screaming fans and our Royal Family musicians ecstatic to be on stage with their own musical heroes.
Eleanor Rigby (Beatles cover)
Rudy’s Way (w/ Leo Nocentelli)
Hat Trick (w/ Leo Nocentelli)
Come Back Jack (The Meters cover w/ Leo Nocentelli and GPJ)
Cissy Strut (The Meters cover w/ Leo Nocentelli and GPJ)
Jesus Children of America > (Stevie Wonder cover w/ Leo Nocentelli)
If You Want Me to Stay (Sly and the Family Stone cover w/ Leo Nocentelli)
A slow, sexy, melodic version of The Meter’s “Pungee” began with Krasno and the Evans brothers for the second set and George Porter snuck out in the middle of it. It would be Porter’s time to shine after Leo Nocentelli dominated the first set. “No More Okey Doke,” showcased the baritone sax talents of Ryan Zoidis, who traded licks against Porter’s bass lines. Krasno then took what could arguably be the sickest solo of the run. As if under a trance, his face began a series of contortions that resulted from the severe intensity at which he was focused on delivering the notes. His passionate playing lifted him onto his toes and his body undulated back and forth. It was epic. All the while, the remaining musicians on stage provided a solid foundation for his shredding guitar playing. “No More Time,” “Jezebel,” and “Stop That Train,” were amazing, different and it was wonderful to hear a bass player with our favorite power trio. It must be mentioned that Neal Evan’s technique of playing the bass line on his clavinet is one of the most defining aspects of Soulive’s sound. So, the addition of one of the sickest bass players to the already magnificent power of Alan, Neal and Krasno projected and supported their expansive sound. When “How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You” began to play, the same energy that comes from an audience hearing, “With A Little Help From My Friends,” came from this audience. The crowd went wild, couples turned to one another and kissed, and friends placed their arms around each others shoulders. It was friendly, loving and high-energy, creating a smile on every face. With happiness dripping from the rafters, “Them Changes,” a famous Band of Gypsy’s tune written by Buddy Miles, was loud and vibrant with Ryan Zoidis taking another bone-crushing baritone sax solo.
The jams that occurred throughout both sets were fantastic. Everyone felt at home, whether on stage or in the audience. Those comfortable, jamming encounters are what fan our passion for the funk. The funkiest encore of the run, “Afrika,” included a never-ending, thumping rage as Lettuce and Break Science drummer Adam Deitch, finally graced us with his presence. This was not to be taken lightly as Deitch is arguably one of the best drummers of our generation and a Bowlive mainstay in the previous years. As well, unannounced trumpeter Maurice Brown (Tedeschi Trucks Band) and Natalie Cressman (Trey Anastasio Band) ran out into the horn section during the first measures of the song. At this point, Leo Nocentelli was on guitar along with ten other musicians on stage while Porter sang the tune, “Just Kissed My Baby!” POrter danced around on stage, would turn around to direct the horns and even ran over to Neal’s keyboards and played with him. It was madness, super genius madness and the crowd soaked it up like a sponge.
Pungee (Meters cover w/ GPJ)
No More Okey Doke (Meters cover w/ GPJ)
Need More Time (w/ GPJ)
Jezebel (w/ GPJ)
Stop That Train (Bob Marley & Wailers cover w/ GPJ)
How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) (Marvin Gaye cover w/ Leo and GPJ)
Them Changes (Buddy Miles cover w/ Leo and GPJ)
Encore: Africa (w/ Adam Deitch, Leo and GPJ)
Encore: Just Kissed My Baby (w/ Adam Deitch, Leo and GPJ)
The quality of music that came from the Brooklyn Bowl stage the past two weeks has ignited fires in our musical souls. Why would we want it to stop now? To the chagrin of those Soulive fans who couldn’t make it to as many shows they would like this year, there is only one night left of the Fourth Annual Bowlive residency. However, like every closing night of Bowlive, Soulive promises to make it best. Last night’s guest, bassist George Porter Jr. will continuing his reign tonight as Bowlive’s #1 special guest.