Bowlive V: Night II – Soulive feat. Nicki Bluhm, George Porter Jr., Warren Haynes, and the Shady Horns, Leroy Justice Opener @ The Brooklyn Bowl (03.14.14)
“Beware the Ides of March!” Julius Caesar was warned by a soothsayer of the impending doom that would come to him on March 15 and his response to the soothsayer was, “He is a dreamer, let us leave him!” Perhaps, if Caesar had listened to the soothsayer, had he had more faith believing that dreams can become reality, then he would not have been slain. I reference this famous tale not only because of the date, but because believing in dreams is what has gotten us to this point. And I do mean the collective us: you, me, Soulive, the Brooklyn Bowl…all of us.
“A culture is only as great as its dreams, and its dreams are dreamed by artists.”~ L. Ron. Hubbard
Leroy Justice Set
Tears of a Clown
A Little More Conversation
Leroy Justice opened Night II of Soulive‘s Bowlive V last night at the Brooklyn Bowl. This hard-driving rock-n-roll band consists of the charismatic Jason Gallagher (guitar/vocals), Sloan Marshall (keys), Bradley Wegner (bass), Josh Karis (drummer) and Justin Mazer (guitarist). Playing a wide range of styles, they power through original tunes like “Evil K” and “Light Cig,” sprinkled with covers such as the Rolling Stone‘s “Loving Cup” and Smokey Robinson‘s “Tears of A Clown.” Everyone loves a well-played cover and this band has got it all. The maneuver through rock, country or sometimes just jam out on other songs. With a hearty spirit, they got the Bowl up and ready to dance.
“Let’s hear it for Bradley’s chin!” ~ Jason Gallagher, referencing Bradley Wegner’s shaved signature beard.
Set I – 10pm
Eleanor Rigby –> 3rd Stone –> Lenny
Never Gonna Let You Go
Every Body Wants to Rule The World
Soulive came out the gate last night with guns a-blazing. “Outrage” was the song that kicked off an evening of music that was, literally, outrageous!! Last night was a special night indeed, with three sets of music and a special guest who helped put the “RAGE” in “OUTRAGEOUS!!” Eric Krasno was shredding his guitar within a few measures. Bass keys player, Neal Evans, had his head down and his arms bent, tuned into his boards. All the while, the wildly talented drummer, Alan Evans, ancorhed the trio. For die-hard Soulive fans, this is as good as it gets for many. They don’t need anything or anyone tainting the sound of their favorite jazz/funk trio.
“Observing that her friends had not yet arrived: “Everyone is missing the best part…right here…when it’s just the three of them.” ~ Nameless Diehard Fan
“What is that smell?” ~ P.S.P. “That would be hippies and chicken” ~ K.D.
“DIG” is a personal favorite and sounds just like the title suggests. It’s as if the boys are digging for the best groove. Deep, consistent drumming by Alan Evans and Neal Evans‘ bass keys drive the song home. Then, they hit us with a super psychedelic run of songs beginning with The Beatles‘ “Eleanor Rigby,” into Jimi Hendrix‘s “3rd Stone From the Sun,” into Stevie Ray Vaughan‘s “Lenny.” ENDLESS FACE-MELT! When Eric Krasno plays this run of songs, he channels every single vetran guitarist that made the song popular in the first place. From beautiful melodic embelishments, to improvisational rock to the sensual blues, it’s an absolute showcase of his instrument and talent.
“That’s the blues, y’all” ~ Alan Evans
“Eleanor Rigby made me just straight up yell, f&%king Bowlive!!”~ B.M., who’s been front row for the last three years! #superfan #superfunky
The Shady Horns, Soulive‘s house band, joined the stage for a fantastic rendition of “El Ron.” Saxophonist, Ryan Zoidis crushed the song as the only horn to play, while saxophonist James Casey hit the cowbell and trumpeter Eric Bloom shook the tambourine. Ryan Zoidis took this song to another level as he blew us away for what felt like an eternity. Had we been sitting, a standing ovation would have been in order. Instead, everyone just screamed and threw their fists in the air at the end of his extended solo.
“I saw the tapers there and was so thankful for them. I wish they were at every night of Bowlive. These musical treasures should all be on archive.org for the public to enjoy.” ~ K.D.
And now ladies and gentleman, Mr. Nigel Hall. The tenured Bowlive alum grabbed the microphone for “Too Much” and Eric Bloom delivered a tasty trumpet solo. There was some call and response with the audience and Nigel waxed poetic, “If you are in tune with the whole lot, that’s why ya do it.” “Never Gonna Let You Go” had everyone dancing and they ended the set with their amazing arrangement of the Tears For Fears tune, “Everybody Wants To Rule The World,” mashed up with Bobby Caldwell‘s, “Open Your Eyes.”
Little Too Late
Piece of My Heart
Check Out Your Mind
Need More Time
Out In the Country
What Cha Say (not played)
The trio played a tight “Upright” alone on stage before welcoming vocalist and Bowlive first timer, Nicki Bluhm, to join them. She sang her original tune, “Little Too Late.” The energy deflated, as it does in all moments when the audience doesn’t know what is going on. However, as Bluhm warmed up her vocals, the crowd warmed up too and by the time she finished slaying Janis Joplin‘s, “Piece of My Heart,” everyone was shouting her praises.
“To be honest, all my judgement on Nicki was boiling down to how she was gonna handle “Piece Of My Heart.” When she went for the high note at the end, instead of hitting the easier low note, that solidified her presence for me. That tiny little lady has soul. So happy to finally get to see her live.” ~ K.D.
Special guest, Mr. George Porter, Jr., was up next. The legendary bass player from The Meters brings with him a vibe that envelops the band when he joins in. Neal Evans, normally playing bass keys, graduates all his attention to the clavinet and just smoked the ivories during the rest of the blues-turned- funk set. A set that included Meters originals, “Check Out Your Mind,” “Need More Time,” and “Pungee.” These songs were released in the 70’s and this performance proved that they were just as relevant now and will be forever. Timeless music performed by an acclaimed bassist. They finished off the set with Sly and The Family Stone’s “Take You Higher.” All the while, Porter sang his heart out. He was straight up howling on the tips of his toes.
“Last night was just a funky marathon.” ~ B.M.
Set III – 1:45pm
How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)
Ain’t No Use
The venue must have lost two third of it’s customers after the second set. That would make it that much sweeter for those who remained after Krasno told them to “stay for a big surprise.” Warren Haynes, guitarist for the Allman Brothers Band, in town for their annual residency at the Beacon Theatre, would be the icing on the cake for another fantastic evening of music.
“Every year, Bowlivers assume Haynes will perform due to the residencies overlapping and you should cross your fingers in hopes that we might get Oteil Burbridge and Derek Trucks one night. That is the thing about Bowlive, you never know what you are going to really get by way of surprise musicians.” ~ K.D.
Soulive performed “Manic Depression” before Warren Haynes was announced. All of a sudden, the Brooklyn Bowl stage held Neal Evans, Alan Evans, Eric Krasno, George Porter, Jr., The Shady Horns and Warren Haynes. What musical power squad. We can all a free on the name, I assume? Yes. Team Ragers, it is!
Warren stumbled with the tuning of his guitar at first but was given a second one a few minutes later. That’s when it really took off. They started with the Meter’s staple, “The Dragon,” sung by George Porter, Jr. Having never seen these two performers on the same stage together, I was completely enthralled. Grateful Dead’s “Sugaree” was next with Nicki Bluhm invited back to the stage for the vocals. Warren, Nicki and Porter took turns singing the verses while every musicians took a turn crushing a solo.
“The third set was one of the most amazing sets of music I have ever seen. Watching Warren, Kras and Porter stand side by side crushing one endless solo after the next was epic. It felt like each one of them pushed the other to the next level of insane Jamming. Neal Evans also crushed a solo during this set that blew my mind. Warren should mix “He Bite Me” (“The Dragon”) into the Mule sets forever. EPIC… “~ J.R.
Nicki Bluhm‘s vocals were a beautiful addition to Warren Haynes‘ southern drawl on “Sugaree.” Her voice stood out and made the song sound closer to a 70’s version by the Grateful Dead, featuring Donna Jean Godchaux.
“Hearing a female voice in Grateful Dead music is a very familiar and joyous thing for many fans at Bowlive. Nicki’s voice brought me back to a happy place where Jerry resides.” ~ J.R.
Nicki Bluhm‘s vocals were blasting out again for “How Sweet It Is,” a 1964 song written by the Motown songwriting team of Holland–Dozier–Holland and first recorded by American soul singer, Marvin Gaye. This was an extreme highlight as everyone was so pumped up. The audience was singing along, friends were hugging, lovers were embracing.
This incredible night of music was capped off with a wonderful rendition of another Meter’s song, “Ain’t No Use.” Check out the video below for the straight fire. Now, go purchase your tickets for the rest of BOWLIVE V.
“I freaked the f*&k out when they started playing “Ain’t No Use!” I sprinted over to Marc Millman when they started, so fired up.” ~ R.A.
Tonight’s special guest, returning for his second night, is the famous funky bassist from The Meters, Mr. George Porter, Jr. However, The London Souls are opening at 8:30 pm and continuing on to play with Soulive for a newly coined LondonSouLive performance. Be prepared to have your faces melted with shredding, ripping guitars and so much more….
List of Special Guests and Openers
SATURDAY, MARCH 22 – Special Guest: BILL EVANS,
Opener: WOLF! Featuring Scott Metzger