Archive for March 20th, 2014

Bowlive V: Night V – Soulive w/ Jon Cleary, Joe Russo and Susan Tedeschi @ The Brooklyn Bowl (03.19.14)

How is everyone’s energy level? Bowlive is a dance party that just will not quit, am I right? The trio has kept the energy up with amazing musical collaborations, secret treats and high energy, powerhouse guests for five nights. And we still have three more to go. For anyone who might be a bit tired from the previous nights, remember, when the music starts, those endorphins drop and the music lifts you back up. Last night’s special guests, Susan Tedeschi, Joe Russo and Jon Cleary, all collaborated to bring us to the highest plane of musical existence that could be reached.

Having been to 44 out of 45 Bowlive shows, I am able to pick out the faces of those of you who are engaging with Soulive every single night. I know that the band sees your face and appreciates your dedication as well. Something I have also noticed during this run, more than others, are the faces of other musicians just hanging in the wings watching and dancing. Last night Reggie Watts and Danny Mayer were on the Bowling ledge. Previous nights, you could see famous NBA players, members of Deep Banana Blackout and bassist Ron Johnson.

I was talking to my friend last night about a residency Soulive did in the early 2000’s. It was a five week run on Tuesday nights at different venues throughout the city with different guests and types of music being played.  A funk night. A jazz night. A rock night with Warren [Haynes]. It was really special. Well, I hit all of those shows and we both talked about how the band and I have graduated from a show a week to playing every night with these guests and incorporating all types of music  to really make a delicious soul stew.” ~ G.F.

Bowlive Hump Day edition: From the first notes of So Live! last night, my brain refreshed and reminded me why I have such a fondness for this band, these boys can play!  ~ M.V.M.

Photo Courtesy of Mark Dershowitz

Photo Courtesy of Mark Dershowitz

Jon Cleary Set
I Feel So Damn Good I’ll Be Glad When I Get the Blues
Cheating On You
The Crave (an emotionally complex piece.)
I Get The Blues When It Rains
Unknown (Boogie Woogie Tune)

Jon Cleary, opened Bowlive for the second night in a row. Just like the previous night, the dance floor was bulging with New Orleans music fans by 8:30pm. For a man with his level of musical knowledge, I was expecting to see more of his talent unfold on the Brooklyn Bowl stage.  However, we were all quite shocked when Cleary performed the same exact set as he had the night prior. Song for song, word for word, story for story.  This was wonderful for those who had missed Cleary’s uplifting performance last night, but some of us were looking for more.  Don’t get me wrong, the set he put together was upbeat, engaging, and informative, as he described each tune before he played them, dropping bits of knowledge on the songs before performing. This is a trait I wish all musicians would adopt. To learn more about Jon Cleary’s set, please check out yesterday’s review on Tinyrager.com.

Cleary opened again with pretty much the same set as the night before. His piano solos with the band prove why he is a Nola living legend. I particularly enjoyed seeing Cleary watching Neal Evans from the stairs for at least 2-3 songs, obviously blown away by his prowess. ~ R.G.

Set I
So Live!
Eleanor –> I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
76 (Joey)
Up & Out (Joey)
For Granted (Horns)
When You Get Back (Cleary, Mark Rivers)

The ever-powerful members of Soulive, Eric Krasno (guitar), Neal Evans (bass keys/clavinet), and Alan Evans (drums), took to the stage for a fifth night of electric and eclectic music.  Following the pattern of the previous nights, Soulive hit the stage as a solo trio for “So Live!” and “DIG.” Both songs are heavy hitting tunes that grab your attention right out the gate. The musical prowess of the trio was thrown from the stage into the ears of the audience, which got everyone grooving.

Once again, Bowlive delivers! Strong, classic Soulive opening reminding us all what we really came for! ~ R.G.

Things got all psychedelic with a Beatles medley, “Eleanor Rigby” and “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” off Soulive’s Rubber Soulive album, released in  2010, during Bowlive I. The arrangements of these Beatles tunes are distinctly Soulive. They perform the songs with the energy of the 70’s and with a deep appreciation of what it means to be able to play these inspirational tunes today. To get an idea of how hard-hitting the boys have been kicking things off, it was during the medley that Alan Evans broke his drum. Not his drum stick, HIS DRUM! The stage hands were on point and if you hadn’t been watching, you might not have ever known something happened. The beat goes on…

After getting down to the classics, it was time to turn our appreciation upon one of the greatest drummers in the jam band community. Joe Russo, the current drummer for Furthur (featuring Phil Lesh and Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead), joined the stage for “76” and “Up & Out.”  Russo has a laundry list of musical projects that he is involved with. Most notably, Russo makes up one half of the Benevento/Russo Duo (many might know them simply as “The Duo”) and Marco Benevento, his musical better half, will be a special guest this coming Friday.

Not only did Krasno start with “76,” one of my favorite songs but Joe Russo destroys the drum kit like I’ve never seen, specifically on that song before. Watching Krasno quietly show Russo the rhythm of the song just before they got into it, blew me away even more. ~ R.G.

Russo came out with so much force. The audience had already seen one drum broken and we were waiting on another after seeing Russo’s fierce start.  Russo plays a giant drum set-up when he is playing for Furthur but his range was not squelched one bit as he beat his way around Alan’s kit. All of the power that is normally spread out amongst his large kit became refined and focused on Alan’s.

The Shady Horns, consisting of Eric Bloom (trumpet), Ryan Zoidis (baritone saxophone) and James Casey (alto saxophone), hit the stage next, with Alan Evans back on the drums, for the horn-heavy, “For Granted.” A fan favorite, this song features tight horn arrangements from long-time Soulive collaborators and friends, Sam Kininger and Ryan Zoidis. Each horn took a solo, showing off their chops and then kicked it right into “Vapor,”  which was dominated mainly by Bloom’s trumpet.

For the final song of the set, Jon Cleary was brought out to drop the sound of New Orleans back into the mix for “When You Get Back, We Gonna Cha Cha Cha.” Cleary played this tune during his solo set last night so hearing it will a full band was phenomenal. What a full sound. We were also privileged enough to have a surprise sit-in by Mark Rivers, the harmonious vocalist from the Tedeschi/Trucks Band. It was a fabulous set and for those who had felt even the slightest bit tired, had shaken it off with all the dancing.

Set II
El Ron
Butterfly (Susan)
Tired of My Tears (Mark Rivers)
Break In The Road
It’s So Heavy
Clean Up Woman (Cleary)

“El Ron,” written by Alan Evans and found on the Steady Groovin album, kicked off the second set and the audience straight grooved. This was followed by “Aladdin,” with deep improvisations and extended jams including a cascading brass waterfall within the horn section. Then, just when you thought it couldn’t get more jamming, special guest of the evening, American blues and soul musician, Susan Tedeschi,  joined the stage.  Man, oh, man! What a treat!

“Eleanor Rigby” was sweet, as was the other Beatles cover that enticed the crowd. Seeing Joe Russo and his ferocity on Alan’s kit was a treat, but my hopes for Susan’s arrival had me wondering when I might see her saunter down the steps from the green room above. Needless to say, my wish was granted three songs into the second set, when she came out for her time to shine with “Butterfly.” ~ M.V.M.

Susan Tedeschi was the second lady of music to grace the Bowlive stage this year. Nickie Bluhm preceded her last week with her folksy voice, but now, it was time for some deep, southern blues and soul.  Tedeschi is unparalleled in this department, as far as I am concerned. Her style is based in American roots music, especially electric blues, Southern soul and black gospel. So, when she opened her pipes for her original tune “Butterfly,” those who were not paying attention, stood at attention. Both men and women fixated on her amazing presence. Did I mention that she crushes the guitar also?

“Susan is the direct heir to Bonnie Rait and Muddy Waters.” P.P.

“I can’t give enough love to this woman. Her voice touches my soul. We all have artists who we connect with on a DEEP, personal level and Susan Tedeschi is one of mine. I broke off an engagement in 2009. Susan’s version of the Bob Dylan tune, “Baby, Don’t Think Twice,” was quite literally the song that saved my heart and my head. I was totally prepared to let the tears flow if she sang that tune. Or anything slow for that matter!” ~ K.D.

For those of you who might not know who Susan Tedeschi is, you might know her husband, Derek Trucks, of The Allman Brothers Band.  In fact, while Tedeschi was headlining the Brooklyn Bowl last night, Trucks was headlining the Beacon Theater. This husband and wife duo formed the Tedeschi/Trucks Band in 2010 but plan on focusing on this project full-time after the Allman Brothers end their final run at the Beacon this week. Having played with Soulive on numerous occasions, as well as having made her Bowlive debut at Bowlive I, Susan is a veteran in that regard but her band-mate, vocalist Mark Rivers, made his debut last night, coming out for the remainder of the set.  “Tired of My Tears,” a Ray Charles tune, was a wonderful showcase of their joint ability to sing and perform together. Tedeschi lead the group on guitar while Krasno kept it reeled in on rhythm for “Break In The Road,” a great sing-along song with Joe Russo back on drums. The slower, blues-based Tedeschi/Trucks Band tune, “It’s So Heavy,” was next, followed by “Misunderstood.” Both of these tunes were “written by Eric Krasno,” said Susan, and the harmonies between she and Mark Rivers continued.

I really loved the “Tired of My Tears,” but the sweetest moment of that set for me was the all star ensemble covering Betty Wright’s “Clean Up Woman,” that in itself, solidified my girl crush for that amazingly talented songstress and one hell of a guitar player, also known as Susan Tedeschi! ~ M.V.M.

The stage was set for an explosive encore as Jon Cleary was brought out again, this time for the Betty Wright tune, “Clean Up Woman.” It should be noted that James Casey also sang the harmonies with Rivers while Joe Russo was seen at the back of the stage beating and shaking all the percussion instruments he could find.

“Last night was amazing. Susan and the boys out on a blues and soul revue. From the moment she walked on stage her ability to sing and play guitar took both the crowd and the band to the highest levels  of the run so far. The last coupe of songs with Cleary and Russo really showed just how good Soulive is at allowing their guests to shine while never taking a step backwards.” ~ G.F.

Little By Little (Joey & Tash)
Turn On Your Love Light (Everyone)

Tash Neal, the shredding guitarist for the rock trio The London Souls, surprised the crowd when he came out for the heart breaking tune, “Little By Little.” There were now three crushing guitarists and two raging keyboardists on stage amongst the horns, drums and vocalists. This tune was supposed to be the finale of the night but when it ended, none of the musicians left the stage. Instead, they put their heads together and pulled out an epic, “Turn On Your Love Light,” that beamed out over the entire audience, who beamed back with intense appreciation. “Love Light” is a famous song recorded in 1961 by Bobby Bland but made famous by The Grateful Dead, who adopted it into their catalog in 1966. The Grateful Dead had finally come to Bowlive and the audience responded with such a fury of applause and smiles.

Soulive and there special guests continue to make magic. The shows get better and better.There “Love Light” was shining oh so bright last night! What fun! ~ L.H.

“Is your light shining yet? ARE YOU SHINING YET?” ~ A.S. shouted as she grabbed my hand and thrust it in the air!

Last night was an epic night at Bowlive. Joe Russo brought a level of energy to the drum kit that pumped the band up to full throttle. Susan Tedeschi blew my mind. I am so used to seeing her next to Derek Trucks these days that I forgot what a virtuoso guitarist she is in her own right. She played pretty songs and blues tunes and ripping jamming songs. By the time the night was over and her “Love Light” was shining on all of us. I felt so happy to be a part of it all standing in the Brooklyn Bowl, my temple on earth. So blessed. ~ J.R.

“Love Light” was the proverbial icing on the cake, the cherry on top, the gravy for my mashed potatoes. Whatever you want to call it, that was on fire! My musical cup overfloweth and my Bowlive cherry has been popped proper! So grateful for two amazing nights of music! ~ M.V.M.

Last night was one of those fantastic Bowlive evenings when everything comes together. Various artists from various genres, playing their various instruments and sounding as if they had rehearsed for weeks. Truth be told, they probably rehearsed earlier that day but one of the most beautiful things about our music scene, which incorporates all genres of music, is that the jam is what is most important. Not the money or fame, but the music itself. Bowlive delivers us our favorite band kicked up a notch. Every night they strive to beat out the first. Every night they strive to hit the highest plane of musical magic. Soulive recognizes that the music is the key ingredient to BOWLIVE and they bring out key players in the musical world to deliver that message to our ears. Thank you Soulive!


Tonight, Soulive will change the game completely with conscious rapper, Talib Kewli and DarrylD.M.C.Matthews McDaniels, a pioneer of hip hop culture and founding members of the hip hop group Run–D.M.C.


List of Special Guests and Openers (and past night reviews)



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

Opener & Special Guest: JON CLEARY

Opener & Special Guest: JON CLEARY

THURSDAY MARCH 20 – w/ Special Guest: DMC (of RUN DMC)


Opener: WOLF! Featuring Scott Metzger

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