Archive for March 18th, 2014

Bowlive V: Night III – Soulive feat. George Porter Jr. and The London Souls #LondonSoulive @ The Brooklyn Bowl (03.15.14)

Soulive: Photograph Courtesy of Calabro Music

Soulive: Photograph Courtesy of Calabro Music

We are all influenced by something. It’s inevitable. Everything around us is influential, just as we are influential in our own special way to all things in the universe that surround us. It becomes fascinating when you are privileged enough to see your favorite artist, someone who has influenced your life so deeply, become fascinated by amazing another. That is what happened last night. Many times over.

This is a golden age of live music. To be able to hear this caliber of music at small venues with reasonable prices is not something to be taken lightly. Having grown up in the heyday of the Fillmore East, I thought the explosion of good live music would last forever. We had some lean years in between. Appreciate it and support it. ~ R.M.

Bowlive V Logo

Bowlive V Logo

Soulive has now stomped out three nights of shredding, grooving, bluesy, jazzy goodness with non-stop energy and musical perfection. For other artists looking to see how it’s done, well, this is the band to watch. They are inspirational, to say the least. They invite people who influence them to join them on stage and they subliminally invite us to be inspired.

Over the past two nights, keyboardist Neal Evans, drummer Alan Evans, and guitarist Eric Krasno have enjoyed the musical company of Nigel Hall, DJ Logic, Eddie Roberts, Nicki Bluhm, George Porter, Jr., Warren Haynes, The Shady Horns, and Leroy Justice. And last night, a new term would be coined when the London Souls joined Soulive for what would become a face melting #LondonSoulive set.

Photo Courtesy of Headyshots

Photo Courtesy of Headyshots

London Souls Set

Tash Neal (guitar/vocals), Chris St. Hilaire (drums/vocals) and Stu Mahan (bass) make up one of the sickest trios around right now. These three powerhouse musicians truly grab your attention with their full-on, Rock-N-Rage sets. Tash Neal is the epitome of a person who was meant to be a guitarist, always drenched in sweat minutes into the start of their set from playing with so much force. Stu Mahan’s bass riffs fit so well into the pocket that it might be impossible to ever pull him out. The drumming of Chris St. Hilaire helps drive the force of the other two gnarly beasts.

I think it was Bowlive II or III, but I remember seeing them open for Soulive and there were literally 15 people watching. Look at this now, the place is packed and now they are opening for Tedeschi/Trucks Band. They sounded  great then but they sound amazing now. ~ J.M.

Dude, you just getting here? They are CRUSHING IT!!! ~ J.I.

You know what I love about them? They all look absolutely different. ~ S.G.

Tash Neal was in a serious car accident a few years back when a drunk driver t-boned his taxi. No one knew what to expect from recovery, but look at this guy now!!! Are you kidding me? You’d never know anything happened by looking at him but you can HEAR that he plays with the passion of survival every SINGLE time. ~ K.D.

Their sex appeal is undeniable as girls in the audience were totally zoned into the band, screaming like super fans. This was a face-smashing head-banging kind of rock and here it was the girls were more animated then the guys, but only at times.  The London Souls released their latest album, Here Come The Girls, on January 8, 2013. Go grab a copy and be enjoy a modern day version of The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and Cream.

What really stood out for me is two things with the London Souls. Similar to Soulive, they make an incredibly full sound for only three guys. Sometimes it amazes me there aren’t more people on stage. Even Soulive uses guests and horns, the London Souls have a raw energetic sound. ~ J.M.

I thought they had just a ton of energy right from the start – the London Souls were amazing and made me wonder why I don’t listen to more of them. ~ B.M.

Photo Courtesy of Rob Chapman

Photo Courtesy of Rob Chapman

Set I
Hat Trick
Keep On Marchin’ (w/ GPJ)
People Say
No More Okey Doke
Chug A Lugg

Last night, the venue was packed to the brim. There were no special announcements, but I wager that many thought they might get a surprise artist tonight given that Warren Haynes showed up the night before without warning. Regardless of who MIGHT be showing up, we already had the best hitters in the house. Mr. George Porter, Jr., a Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame nominee and bassist for the funk legends, The Meters, was the special guest of the evening and we would see him shortly.

Nobody, I mean nobody lights up a room like George Porter, Jr. but you already knew that ~ J.M.

Photo Courtesy of Rob Chapman

Photo Courtesy of Rob Chapman

Soulive and The Shady Horns came out on stage together last night for the first set. Other nights its been just the audience and our favorite jazz/funk trio.  They went heavy into “Hat Trick” and James Casey (saxophone) blew out his best solo of the run to date. Neal Evan’s keys on “Aladdin” and Eric Krasno’s guitar solo on “Vapor” was like sonic therapy for the soul.

There were so many audience members commenting on how tired they were due to the previous nights of raging Bowlive V. All that changed when George Porter, Jr. came out. This is where it gets fascinating, when you get to see your favorite artists playing with their musical inspirations. Soulive is a funk/soul/jazz band and George Porter Jr. is a king of kings when it comes to funk bass. Up there with Bootsy Collins and Larry Graham, he is a master of funky bass playing and the respect he is given from the funk community is wonderful.

Photo Courtesy of Rob Chapman

Photo Courtesy of Rob Chapman

Having seen him many times, his energy was off the charts this night. His shenanigans and antics were infectious. “Keep On Marchin'” into “People Say,” both Meters originals, were fantastic but there were a few moments when Ryan Zoidis (saxophone) and Porter engaged in a playful back and forth, that had fans jumping off their feet. And when Zoidis completed his killin’ solo, Mr. George Porter, himself, leapt off the ground in recognition, shouting, “Yeah!”

My appreciation of Ryan Zoidis grows each time I hear him live. He has become a monster on sax, from the alto to the big baritone. ~ R.M.

Photo Courtesy of Rob Chapman

Photo Courtesy of Rob Chapman

The Shady Horns, Evan Brothers and Krasno were all smiles. They kept the pace up without missing a beat. Porter said, “Here’s something you don’t hear too often,” and with that, they went into “No More Okey Doke,” a stray from the original set list. It was back to the set list for “Chug A Lugg,” when Porter pulled a change up and says, “Sorry y’all, this some Earth, Wind and Fire shit.” Sadly, a song that I couldn’t name. Lastly, they played the Meters classic, “Africa,” where James Casey brought the house down with one of his signature solos.

Set II – 12:20am
El Ron
Hit It & Quit It
Steady As You Go
Memphis Train
Them Changes
Photo Courtesy of Rob Chapman

Photo Courtesy of Rob Chapman

Krasno and the Evans brothers came out with The Shady Horns for the second set but this time The Shady Horns were joined by Mike Tucker, a Berkley-taught tenor saxophonist from Massachusetts. Neal Evans lead the  organ-heavy “El Ron,” as Krasno’s fingers flew over his guitar. In fact, I am chalking it up to the audience being tired and possibly drunk, but Krasno ripped such an amazing solo, that he was shouting to himself while up on his toes, and only a handful of people recognized the dope sauce he was throwing in our ears. A slow and passionate “PJs” was next but not before the audience was given a bath in brass.  The Shady Horns, consisting of Eric Bloom (trumpet), Ryan Zoidis (baritone and tenor saxophone), James Casey (tenor saxophone) and special guest, Mike Tucker, started popping and honking and blowing their way through measure after measure of uninterupted horn rage.

The highlight last night was the cascading lines of the extended horn section during “El Ron.” What a treat it was to be bathed in a brass waterfall of soulful saxes electrified by the captivating timbre of Eric Bloom’s trumpet. ~ P.S.P.

Night 3, after James Casey killed it at the Leprechaun’s Ball with Eddie Roberts and Nigel Hall, he brought his amazing energy to the Bowl to crush his solos with the Shady Horns and man, he got the crowd going wild. ~ J.G.
The thing about having only missed one out of the 43 Bowlive shows, is that it can be difficult to separate them from one and other. Every night the boys are expected to bring the fire while we hope that they bring the unexpected. For those of us with track records like that, we can be hard to please since we are always looking for the next best Soulive fix. This next collaboration was exactly the fix we were seeking.
The idea to mix The London Souls with Soulive was brilliant. The combination being called “LondonSoulive,” it was just like it sounded. The trios mashed-up, placing Alan in a position to play guitar and sing his way through the rest of the set. Neal Evans was relieved of the bass keys as Stu Mahan stepped up.  This was about to become electric.

And the other thing K.D. was quick to point out was during “London Soulive” was that there was only one drum kit and Alan wasn’t on it. With what I’m sure wasn’t that much practice time, Chris St. Hilaire was able to basically be the drummer for Soulive and they didn’t miss a beat. That in itself is a huge compliment to his ability. ~ J.M.

Photo Courtesy of Rob Chapman

Photo Courtesy of Rob Chapman

Krasno looks to Tash as a peer who challenges him. As much as Krasno loves playing with the legends who came before him, he becomes a better version of himself when he performs next to Tash. His stance changes, his playing changes, he knows he can’t back down because Tash will shred his face off. For the first time ever, I saw little beads of sweat forming under Krazno’s signature hat. That was the palpable energy that fed the entire rest of the set. Starting with “Lucille,” it was just pure, unadulterated shredding by Krasno and Tash.  A jam session of epic proportions.

Tash and Krasno traded guitar licks, as they powered through “Hit It & Quit It,” Steady As You Ready,” and “Memphis Train.” All three songs pinned the two guitar virtuosos against each other, both pulling the best out of each other with each new measure. Then, they began to play the Neil Young classic, “OHIO.” Everyone sounded fantastic, the guitarists, the keys, the drums. However, there were no horns for “OHIO.” It was just pure grungy, rock-n-roll to the extreme. Everyone in the audience was bouncing, literally jumping off their feet to the beat and they didn’t stop.

It was great to see the raw rock and roll energy that the London Souls bring to Bowlive.  Ohio was a stand out tune.  You could picture Neil Young, the Godfather of Grunge loving the energy that the Souls put into the classic CSNY song.  By the time I was done dancing around the lanes to that one I had to take a couch break    Those guys really add a great energy to the Soulive mix. ~ J.R.

For me it was all about The Souls in the second set…. loved Chris on the drums freeing up Alan to take to the mic standing. – Tash from Souls is absolutely ridiculous on that guitar…downright mesmerizing rock and roll shredding… and to see him and George porter trading licks and deep grooving… was so good. ~ A.R.

Photo Courtesy of Robert Chapman

Photo Courtesy of Robert Chapman

Alan was back on the drums for “Them Changes” while Chris St. Hiliare moved to percussion and the Shady Horns returned for the is last tune. It was a dance party and when Eric Bloom snagged his solo, even the band was smiling ear to ear and gave him a huge applause.

Encore – 1:30am
Just Kissed My Baby
George Porter, Jr. was brought out for the Encore where he performed an extended version of “Just Kissed My Baby,” with Alan, Neal and Krasno. The London Souls remained also and Porter lead the guys in every direction. He was yelling, and jumping around, so animated. Stu Mahan held his own on the stage next to Porter, beginning to carve out his own deep bass legacy.
My legs were so tired by the end of the night–but you just couldn’t help but dance to “Just Kissed My Baby” ~ B.M.
Porter was appreciating every moment of being on stage with all these talented modern day funk musicians. He appeared not only proud, but spirited, so full of life as he engaged with each artist, walking up to them, cheering them on to do better, to pull something out that would make him holler. It was open season for bass rage as far as I was concerned. They extended “Just Kissed My Baby” with so much force that nothing else would have lived up to it.
And so we have reached the end of the first week of Bowlive V. Similar to the previous years, multiple Bowlive alums, such as George Porter, Jr., The London Souls, Nigel Hall and many more were present to lend their talents to our favorite power trio. Tonight will kick off five more nights of music to revel and dance in with special guests, John Scofield, John Cleary, Joe Russo and Bill Evans, DMC (of Run DMC), Susan Tedeschi, and Marco Benevento. You can expect high-energy, soulful opening acts from John Clearly, Sonya Kitchell, The Alan Evans Trio and finally, WOLF! feat. Scott Metzger.
See you at the Brooklyn Bowl….
Tonight’s Special Guests will be the famous eclectic jazz guitarist, John Scofield and New rleans keyboardist John Cleary. Mr Cleary will also be performing the opening set. Doors open at 6, set beings at 8:30 pm. This will be another face-melting gig so don’t miss out. 

List of Special Guests and Openers:



SATURDAY MARCH 15 w/ Special Guest: GEORGE PORTER JR. feat. a special LONDON SOULIVE joint set

w/ Special Guest: JOHN SCOFIELD
Opener: & Special Guest: JON CLEARY

Opener & Special Guest: JON CLEARY

w/ Special Guest: DMC (of RUN DMC)

w/ Special Guest: MARCO BENEVENTO

Opener: WOLF! Featuring Scott Metzger

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