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Posts Tagged ‘Adam Smirnoff’

Bowlive III: Night Ten – Finale Recap for Soulive w/ Ledisi, Derek Trucks and The London Souls ~ Extended Review + Media (03.10.12)

After nine nights of warming up, Soulive members Eric KransoNeal Evans and Alan Evans tore the roof off the Brooklyn Bowl Saturday night for the final night of their 3rd annual ten-night residency, Bowlive. Over the course of the last two weeks, Soulive presented their audience with talented guests from across the musical spectrum. Virtuoso guitarists such as jazz legend John Scofield, southern blues rocker Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars), and the hard-bopping Warner Brothers artist Mark Whitfield created slaying duets with guitarist Eric Krasno. Renowned bassists Oteil Burbridge (The Allman Brothers Band) and George Porter, Jr. (The Meters) rocked the stage, adding to the cool bass keys Neal Evans plays so strikingly. Hip-hop drummer ?uestlove (The Roots), experimental percussionist Billy Martin (MMW) and world beat drummer Luke Quaranta took their turns leading the rhythm when the smoother than smooth Soulive drummer Alan Evans stepped aside to play rhythm guitar.

Guest vocalists Nigel Hall, Allen Stone, Jennifer Hartswick and Alecia Chakour brought their own style of strength and soul to the mic, Citizen Cope and Alice Smith sang an eclectic mix of blues, laid-back rock and folk while Rhazel and Ledisi delivered beat boxing and R&B/Soul into the eager ears of their audience. As well, for two night and two full sets, Royal Family recordings artists Lettuce, consisting of guitarist Adam Smirnoff, drummer Adam Deitch (Break Science), bassist ED “Jesus” Coomes, and The Bowlive horns, seared the stage with their urban funk flavor.

The Bowlive Horns, consisting of saxophonist James Casey, trumpeters Eric Bloom and Matt Owens and tenor saxophonist Ryan Zoidis were joined over the course of the run by numerous big name brass players.  Trombonist Sam “Big Sam” Williams (Big Sam’s Funky Nation), flautist/saxophonist Karl Denson (Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe), trumpeters Rashawn Ross (Dave Matthews Band) and Jennifer Hartswick, flautist Kofi Burbrudge (Derek Trucks Band) and wild improvisational saxophonist Skerik, rotated throughout the ten nights creating one of the sickest brass ensembles some have ever seen.

Other surprise guests included virtuoso pianist Eldar and organist Mitch Chakour while DJ Wyllys spun the ones and twos in between the weekend sets. When Soulive didn’t open the show themselves, the one man band, Zach Deputy, Royal Family recording artists The Nigel Hall Band, The Alecia Chakour Band and The London Souls amped the energy of the evening before Soulive took over to lay devastation upon the stage. It has been a two week rage of full on face melting, mind warping, soul filling, gut busting musicianship that accelerated with power each night and with audience members wondering how it could be topped.

Saturday night was the tenth and last night of Bowlive III. The audience, clad in white outfits for the evening’s White-Out Party theme, could be heard whispering their ideas of who the special guests might be. The London Souls, Ledisi and The Royal Family All-Stars were billed which could only mean that a surprise that couldn’t be named was being prepared.

The London Souls opened the evening with their Hendrix-style rock and roll sound. It is quite impossible to remain calm when guitarist Tash Neal, bassist Stu Mahan, and drummer Chris St. Hilaire are slamming away on their instruments.  The perfect opening for the end of a great run.

Soulive’s set started off with the super horn heavy, high-energy “El Ron”  However, during “Upright,” some unexpected technical difficulty occurred.  What could have been a rough moment turned into something special. There was three minutes where Alan Evans and his team worked at lightning speed to repair a broken drum head while the remaining members on stage worked together to keep the audience engaged. The audience clapped and cheered, supporting their favorite trio because there was importance in this moment. The band’s talent was exposed so much more during this time as they kept it together. The power from the applause in the audience when Evans’ silver shimmering drum kit was finally lifted in the air and put back in place was outstanding. It was a killer moment in rock n roll, a killer moment in Bowlive History. The trio ripped into the end of “Upright” and kept the momentum UP, UP, UP! They rolled through “Tuesday Night Squad” and Nigel Hall sang on the lively “Too Much” and the beautifully arranged “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears For Fears that segued into Bobby Caldwell’s “Open Your Eyes.”

When Ledisi was brought back on stage for the second night, the crowd exploded. Her R&B flavor had brought such joy to the previous night’s performance and we wanted more. Singing “Love Never Changes” off her Turn Me Loose album, Ledisi unleashed her massively powerful voice upon the audience. Her range and strength were unbelievable as she swiftly scatted her way through “Them Changes,” a Buddy Miles cover off of Jimi Hendrix’s Band of Gypsys. Tash Neal also performed on this song where he and Krasno playfully raged a duet to end the set.

The second set began as multiple white balloons were tossed out into the audience while Soulive played “One in Seven.” The second technical difficulty of the night occurred as Neal Evans’ clavinet finally gave way after nine nights of solid pounding. Not to miss a beat, Alan Evans began jamming on his kit, delivering a tight an extended drum solo as the back line team fixed the issue.  It was then time for some Beatles love as they played an electric run of “Eleanor Rigby,” “She’s So Heavy” and “Get Back.”

Finally, the last surprise guest of this amazing musical journey was invited on the stage. Southern rock, slide guitarist Derek Trucks (The Allman Brothers Band) walked out on stage with Nigel Hall and Ledisi to perform Sam Cooke’s Civil Rights Era anthem “A Change Gonna Come,”. It was no wonder that while Ledisi and Hall sang with all their passion and Derek Trucks made his guitar cry, audience members began to weep where they stood. The meaning and epic delivery of this song wasn’t lost on a single soul. Soulive flipped the emotional script by following Cooke’s song with the raging Jimi Hendrix’s tune, “Manic Depression!” Derek Trucks, Eric Krasno, Neal Evans and Alan Evans delivered a sick rendition of the song with Trucks and Krasno playing off each other and Trucks taking a ripping solo to end the set.

Before the encore, Brooklyn Bowl owner, Pete Shapiro, came on stage with Rosemary and Lavender plants in his hands. He explained that everyone on the floor was to take a piece of the plants being passed around the audience in hopes that the aroma therapy would help us gather our strength for one last song. Ending their epic ten night run the way they began, our favorite trio, just the three of them, took the stage for “Aladdin.”

Bowlive III is now over, leaving some New Yorkers wondering what to do with themselves.  For two weeks, dedicated fans came to the Brooklyn Bowl to see Neal Evans, Alan Evans and Eric Krasno play their hearts out, touching on every musical genre and playing with many of Americas most talented musicians. Let us give thanks to Soulive for the dedication to their craft and their ability to express it through the creative outlet that is Bowlive. Thanks for their want to educate us on new talent, their need to put new twists on old classics, and their determination to raise the bar each and every night.

Let us give thanks to The Brooklyn Bowl, because without them there would be no Bowlive. Thanks for their wonderful environment, staff and treatment.  For the last 2 weeks the Brooklyn Bowl has been our community’s second home. We’ve feasted on their fantastic Blue Ribbon cuisine, felt at home on their plush leather couches and enjoyed their attentive staff.   Soulive + The Brooklyn Bowl = Bowlive and don’t you forget it!

A change has come to New York City. A change has come to the music community.  Soulive has created something so special in Bowlive.  There is nothing else like it in our scene and it’s through that unique way of doing things that Soulive will remain one of the most influential groups in our music community. Bowlive is the development of a passionate dream that is now reality. After three years, Bowlive is no-doubt a game changer in the music community and will continue to be for many years to come. Thank you Soulive!

 Karen E. Dugan
– Photo courtesy of Phrazz

Youtube Videos

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Bowlive III: Night Nine – Soulive w/ George Porter Jr., Ledisi and Skerik ~ Extended Review + Media (03.09.12): Bowlive Finale White Party Ledisi, The London Souls, and The Royal Family All-Stars TONIGHT!

Fire! Fire! Fire! These three little words are the simplest yet perfect definition of what occurred on the Brooklyn Bowl‘s stage last night for the ninth night of Soulive’s third annual ten night residency, Bowlive. So far, nine epically diverse nights of music have now been devoured by sold-out crowds of rabid NY music fans. The members of Soulive, the amazing Neal Evans on organ and bass keys, Eric Krasno, and the backbone of it all, Alan Evans on drums, were back at it for the last weekend of this fantastic run. After eight nights of raging musical collaborations, Soulive continued to deliver with an onslaught of some of America’s most influential musicians. The members of Soulive, The Bowlive Horns, George Porter, Jr., Eldar, Ledisi, Mark Whitfield, Nigel Hall and Alecia Chakour invested all their energy into making last night’s audience react just as powerfully as these musicians performed.

Last night’s opening act is one of the newest musical collaborations within the Royal Family. Nigel Hall and Alecia Chakour took to the stage with a “little help from their friends” to deliver a set of beautifully arranged classics.  These soul-filled vocalists are being compared to some of the greatest soul singing duos of our era and deserve all the love and recognition that comes their way. Supporting their slow, soulful vibe was drummer Adam Deitch (Break Science), trumpeter Eric Bloom (Diana Birch), guitarist Adam Smirnoff (Lettuce), saxophonist James Casey (6figures), Ryan Zoidis (Lettuce), and Alecia Chakour’s brother, bassist Alex Chakour. Nigel Hall sat behind his Rhodes keyboard while Alecia dominated the crowds command from the front of the stage. Performing such classics as Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” and The Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling,” Hall and Chakour made the music their own with beautifully blended voices and arrangements of the songs. These two voices were meant to find each other and the audience couldn’t have been more invested in the harmonies and beauty resonating between them. Pure soul perfection. Keeping with the “Family Affair,” Mitch Chakour, Alecia and Alex’s father, was invited on stage to play keys for Joe Cocker’s “With a Little Help From my Friends!” When Nigel Hall and Alecia Chakour join forces on stage, their bond through music and their passion for soul pours out of them. This was only the second time the duo had performed as an organized set all their own and fans can be sure that it will not be their last. There is magic in this musical union that doesn’t come around often.

After such an touching set, NY-bsed DJ, Wyllys, spun on the 1’s and 2’s to keep the crowds elevated before Soulive took to the stage. When Soulive finally hit, they came out blasting with “Steppin.” This was the final weekend of Bowlive and the trio, who have been delivering us powerful sets for two weeks, raised their own bar a little higher.  After the short set with George Porter Jr. (The Meters) the previous night, Soulive jumped right into the second song by inviting New Orleans funkiest bassist back out on stage for “Pungee” and “Need More Time.” There is an energy that George Porter, Jr. brings to a stage that is tangible. Nigel Hall was back to join Porter for “Leave Me Alone,” but not before Nigel bowed at Porter’s feet letting the crowd know that this “was the funkiest black man in the universe!”

When special guest New Orleans singer-songwriter Ledisi was announced, the venue erupted. This portion of the set was so smokin’ that heat was rising from the stage. Performing “Knocking,” with Adam Deitch now on drums, Ledisi wowed the crowd with her powerful, demanding vocals and sensual style. There is no doubt that she deserves the multiple Grammy nominations that have come her way in the past few years as this was the definition of pure entertainment. “Chain of Fools” followed with The Bowlive Horns, Porter, and a surprise sit-in by Eldar, a fellow Grammy nominated pianist and composer. Surely one of the hottest portion of the night, confirmed by the buzz heard through the audience, Eldar delivered a complex piano solo while Ledisi scatted atop his gorgeous improvisational composition.  George Porter Jr. and the remaining musicians on stage supported this musical bliss to end one of the most magnificent sets of the run. Ledisi’s vocals supported by George Porter Jr. funky bass and combined with the jazzy vibe from Soulive and surprise guest Eldar was truly inspirational, uplifting and touched the audience’s soul. This is what Bowlive is all about, the deliverance of truly developed artists who are masters at their craft!!

Wyllys was spinning again for set break. Never using a set list, Wyllys kept the energy UP with choice selections of funk, R&B, and soul tunes. He kept the crowd dancing before Soulive came back for “Cannonball” supported by the Bowlive Horns. Always ready for something special and new, Soulive invited hard bop jazz guitarist Mark Whitfield on stage next for an electric rendition of George Benson’s “World is a Ghetto.” Following this amazing sit-in, George Porter, Jr. came back on stage and took the lead for the rest of the night performing multiple tunes from The Meters catalog, “Funky Miracle,” “The Dragon,” “People Say,” and “Ain’t No Use.”  The consistent funky bass lines and powerful, invested vocals coming from Porter during these selections fueled the set as well as the musicians sharing the stage. They were long arrangements making room for each artist to share their talent with rousing solos and epic extended jams. Tears were in the eyes of their audience as Eric Krasno and friends ended the set with a stunning, gorgeous arrangement of “Out in the Country.”


There are some music performances that are simply impossible to describe with words. Last night was one of those nights and any attempt at doing justice through written word seems unfulfilling after witnessing the magic of last night. The musical genius that poured off the stage resulted in emotional ballads and extended improvisational jams that expanded on the already amazing two weeks that Soulive has provided it’s audience. It’s painful to even imagine that this adventure is coming to an end. However, we still have one night!  A single night to enjoy one of the sickest musical residencies to happen to our musical community. Every night Soulive has stepped up their game, tightened their sound, and put together an arsenal of talented musicians to play some of the greatest songs ever written.  Tonight, Soulive invites Ledisi, The London Souls, and the Royal Family All-Stars to close out the residency. You can expect nothing but pure gold this evening as these boys will surely be going out with a bang! 

 Karen E. Dugan

– Photo courtesy of Marc Millman

*To see photos of these musicians and lots of other live music, please check out: http://www.marcmillmanphotos.com/music

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Night 6 Recap with Lettuce, Zach Deputy, Skerik, and Allen Stone :: Lettuce, Zach Deputy, and Skerik Tonight!

We have reached the second week of Soulive’s electric ten night Brooklyn Bowl Residency, Bowlive III. After two days of rest, drummer Alan Evans, organist Neal Evans and guitarist Eric Krasno were back for their sixth night, enlisting the help of guitarist Zach Deputy, vocalist Allen Stone, saxophonist Skerik and the funkiet group on the planet, Lettuce. There were also surprise sit-ins by percussionist Luke Quaranata (Toubab Krewe) and bassist Oteil Burbridge (The Allman Brothers Band). Whoa….

Last week, Soulive took on the responsibility of ripping open the stage themselves, proving that they don’t need anyone to help them stir the fire in our bellies. However, after a week of exhaustive musical deliverance, Soulive opted to let another wonderful musician lead the way with their first mid-week opener by way of Zach Deputy. Deputy describes his style as “Gospel, Ninja Soul.” He is a one-man band who sits behind a custom-made rig of electronics, computers, pedals, mics and various instruments to create a song which he delivers to the audience one layer at a time, looping his sounds to reach the end result.  The result being a complete song with beats, bass, lyrics, harmonies, and instrumental backups.  Aside from being fully invested in all aspects of his creativity, Zach Deputy is one of the kindest, accessible musicians on our scene. He adores his fans to a point that a lot of musicians do not.  Deputy spent the entire Soulive/Lettuce performance in the audience smiling and dancing away with the rest of us.

Soulive hit the stage to a sold-out venue warming up with “One in Seven” into “So Live.” Since Lettuce was in the house, Soulive invited out the horn section out for “Get Back.”  Saxophonist James Casey, tenor saxophonist Ryan “Zwad” Zoidis, and trumpeters Eric Bloom (Diane Birch) and Rashawn Ross (The Dave Matthews Band) lined up behind the trio, creating an intimidating wall of brass.  However, the audience erupted into frenzy when one of the sickest bassists on the planet, Oteil Bubridge, walked out to join the tune.  Oteil Burbridge is best known for his work with The Allman Brothers Band and his phenomenal scatting ability he delivers while playing some of the sickest bass lines you will ever hear. The addition of Oteil’s bass to the trio was a special treat. The Allman Brothers Band starts their ten-night residency at The Beacon Theater on March 9, 2012.

The deep and dirty “Hat Trick” continued with Oteil Burbridge on bass. The tight horn section became even more ridiculous with the addition of Seattle-based improvisational jazz saxophonist Skerik on “PJs”.  One name is all Skerik needs.  A founding member of such quirky jazz projects as Critters Buggin, Garage a Trois and Skerik’s Syncopated Taint Septet, his unique and wildly pioneering sound has been dubbed “saxophonics,” Skerik brought an element to the brass wall of horns that gave East Coasters a taste of that West Coast flavor.

For Granted” followed with a trumpet solo from Eric Bloom that stopped conversations and had eyes focused on the stage. Soulive then shifted gears by introducing the second Seattle-based special guest of the night, soul vocalist Allen Stone.  Our favorite trio was alone on stage to back Stone on his original “Unaware” Bowlive III audience members had not yet seen a voice of this nature on stage. Even though the energy lowered due to the softness of the song, Stone’s smooth falsetto was absolutely captivating and all eyes were on him by the time he belted out “Mary” and “Love and Happiness” to end the diverse and fulfilling musical set.

The second set was just a full rage by Lettuce, the greatest urban-flavored funk band in America.  The stage swelled as Lettuce’s horn section, comprised of saxophonist James Casey, tenor saxophonist Ryan “Zwad” Zoidis, and trumpeters Eric Bloom (Diane Birch) and Rashawn Ross (The Dave Matthews Band) came back on.  Alan Evans, who had held down the dirty drums all night, was replaced by Adam Deitch (Break Science). Krasno was joined on rhythm guitar by Adam “DJ Schmeeans” Smirnoff and energetic bassist ED “Jesus” Coomes set up center stage. Vocalist Nigel Hall grabbed the microphone and they kicked off the hot set with some love to Bootsy Collins as he shouted “We Like To Party!”  Lettuce performed tunes off their old catalog but it was when new song “Bowler” and “Madison Square” that the audience gave the most love to the artists on stage.  “Madison Square” is currently the song the NY Knicks are using as their theme song. The Brooklyn Bowl went wild as Skerik jumped in and out of songs with his wild musical antics and Luke Quaranata (Toubab Krewe) ending the set with a killer rendition of “Squad Live.”


The party continues tonight with the same special guests. And who knows, with the energy rising each night and more and more musical guests seen wandering the bowling lanes, you can be sure that more artists will be gracing the Bowlive stage then are billed.

 Karen E. Dugan

Youtube Videos

Soulive w/ Allen Stone – “Love And Happiness” : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9n8k0vkPNc

Soulive w/Allen Stone – “Mary” : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4B45uPhn_oo

Lettuce – Ryan Zoidis sax solo : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fa1i-ZUjo_g

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I had the pleasure of writing for Royal Family Records website for all ten nights for Bowlive III. So, if you care for the shorter, not so critical and emotional charged recaps, head over to RoyalFamilyRecords.com and read up there as you all know the following post will be full of extra details and a much longer recap. Available videos are linked to the song titles! With that said:

HAPPY BOWLIVE NEW YORK CITY!!

BOWLIVE RAGERS!!!  (Photo by Phrazz)

BOWLIVE RAGERS!!! (Photo by Phrazz)

I must start this recap by giving mad love to the Brooklyn Bowl.  If you have never been, what are you waiting for? Their food is killer, their big, leather couches lining the bowling lanes and open feel makes it one of the best venues in Brooklyn, if not all of NYC.  Owner, Pete Shapiro, is one of the most humble, caring, proprietors of an establishment that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. His connections and passion to the music scene are evident as he joins the audience when amazing performances are taking place.  For an example of his kindness, Josh (My Mega Rager) and I got engaged last week in Mexico and are frequent attendees at Brooklyn Bowl performances. It is our favorite venue in the city and not just because Josh and I met there at a Karl Denson show two years ago.

Josh and I thanked Pete last night for providing us with such a great platform to meet. He bought us a bottle of champagne and we all shared a celebratory “Cheers.”  Josh and I are not drinkers but that didn’t stop the toast because when Pete Shapiro buys you a drink, you take it 🙂 I have now only seen Josh take a shot of tequila (a gift from the Brooklyn Bowl on his birthday) and now a glass of champagne.  Thanks again Pete and all the staff who run the Brooklyn Bowl for providing us such a wonderful place to engage in our musical passions, to engage with our musical family and friends and for your killer fried chicken.  As well, the addition of the hooks under the bar and upper level viewing deck did not go unnoticed and had both male and females singing the praises of having their purses and jackets now off the sticky ground 🙂  Quality upgrade!!! Now, on to the real magic.

Bowlive III – Night 1 Recap

Faithful fans of Soulive descend upon the Brooklyn Bowl, one of Brooklyn’s premier music venues, on February 28, 2012 for the first night of the highly anticipated ten-night residency, BOWLIVE III.

Faithful Fans (minus a few) (Photo by Phrazz)

Faithful Fans (minus a few) (Photo by Phrazz)

Alan Evans (Photo by Phrazz)

Alan Evans (Photo by Phrazz)

In previous years, Bowlive audiences have had the pleasure of witnessing diverse line-ups of well-known (Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, Maceo Parker) and up and coming musicians (The London Souls, Alecia Chakour and Mel Flannery), taking their turn on stage with guitarist Eric Krasno, organist and bass keys player  Neal Evans and drummer Alan Evans, the soulful trio who inspire these ten nights of musical magic. Bowlive III was no different with scheduled collaborations by Zach Deputy, Big Sam, Karl Denson, Questlove, Lettuce, Rahzel, Allen Stone, Jennifer Hartswick, and the Alecia Chakour Band. More additions were added continuously over the run so I keep my eyes (and ears) open.

Mike Gibney, The Royal Family’s announcer or HYPE BOY, if you will, came out on stage to announce the band. He is a hilarious, happy, charming, funny man who never fails to pump up the crowd with his wit and humor or hilarious Cosby Sweater-styled outfits.  Tonight, pimpin’ a nice suit, he would scream out how proud he was of himself for being “undefeated in Bowlive History!”  I had to scream “ME TOO!” as loud as I could as there are literally a handful of fans AND staff who have actually attended all ten nights the previous years. I have gone to 29 out of 30 Bowlive shows.

Straying from the formula of the past two years, Soulive hit the stage early, opting out of an opening band until the weekend performances.  The trio stated slow with the appropriate “So Live.” Their energy was calm and they warmed up nicely into the explosive “Hat Trick,” which would set the tone for the rest of the night. Opting out of an opener really placed full responsibility on the trio to ensure the energy was up, to ensure that we stayed engaged, and to ensure that they made the point that they were back!!!  Having seen these three musicians grow since 2000, there was nothing standing in their way last night.

Neal Evans (Photo by Phrazz)

Neal Evans (Photo by Phrazz)

You know when you see the same band over and over and it sometimes appears that they are going through the motions?  I have seen Soulive and its members in their various projects for over a decade now. I hold them to a very high standard as the point of all of this is growth. Growth as a band and as individual musicians.  Bowlive provides a platform for these men to expand their musical catalog by infusing their material with the styles of the special guests that join them.  Because of all these collaborations, it could be easy as the hosts to, perhaps, not invest as much power and passion into the solo songs where the trio played alone.  Of course, this is something that SHOULDN’T happen, and on this first night, it didn’t. I looked forward to watching this monster of a musical run grow beneath our feet and in front of our eyes and to watch the exposure of stamina and talent of these three musical masters were going to have to project as time goes on.

Eric Krasno (Photo by Phrazz)

Eric Krasno (Photo by Phrazz)

The Legendary John Scofield (Photo By Phrazz)

The Legendary John Scofield (Photo By Phrazz)

John “Sco” Scofield, one of America’s greatest Jazz guitarists and composers, was the first guest to appear on stage this year. I absolutely adore seeing Sco and Krasno collaborate.  Joining the trio on the third song, “Tabasco”, a Sco original, Krazno and Sco immediately engaged in each other. Coming ever so close to each other, face to face on stage, they played off each others rifts with the Evan brothers blasting their rhythms.  A Billy Cobham cover, “Red Baron,” followed allowing for each musician on stage to throw down some lightening rod solos.  Sco’s time on stage brought a range of psychedelic jamming and jazz infusion to the trio’s sound that only Sco can help create. This was an exciting show simply because of the fact that John Scofield, Eric Krasno and Luther Dickinson would all be performing together in various combinations throughout the night. For guitar loving rockers like me and every other male that was in that audience, this was FIRE!!! What a great way to start it off.

Nigel Hall (Photo by Phrazz)

Nigel Hall (Photo by Phrazz)

Nigel Hall joins Neal Evans on Keys (Photo by Phrazz)

Nigel Hall joins Neal Evans on Keys (Photo by Phrazz)

Nigel Hall (The Warren Haynes Band, Dr. Klaw) was next to join the stage, initially jumping in on the keyboards with Alan Evan during “What You See Is What You Get.”  The Nigel Hall Band actually opened almost every night during the first Bowlive in 2012. This run, however, Hall took to the microphone only once with his band to deliver the sultry, sexy Donny Hathaway cover “More Then You’ll Ever Know.” Hall’s emotional connection to this powerful ballad was evident as he melted the hearts in front of him. I watched men kiss their girls passionately, I watched bros hug it out on the main floor and I felt my own heart melt.  Hall left immediately for home after the song and I texted him to let him know that his connection was so clear to those who were paying attention.  His response: “Thank you! When you’ve been in love, you can relate.” I hoped that we would get to experience more of him during this run but at the time, nothing was scheduled. We kept those fingers crossed.

John Scofield and Soulive (Photo by Phrazz)

John Scofield and Soulive (Photo by Phrazz)

“Boozer,” another Sco original, end the KILLER first set with Sco thanking Soulive for allowing him to join the party and calling Nigel Hall a “genius.” That statement is powerful and honest and to hear it ring from Sco’s lips, I know for a fact that Nigel’s heart swelled. Mine certainly did.

Nigel Hall connecting with John Scofield (Photo by Phrazz)

Nigel Hall connecting with John Scofield (Photo by Phrazz)

After a short intermission, the Evans brothers and Krasno were back on stage, alone, performing the beautifully composed “El Ron,”  followed by a raging “One in Seven.” No special guests needed to be on stage to ensure that fire was coming off it.  The trio was living up to their responsibilities and taking the songs we have seen them play a million times and breathing fresh life and RAGE into them.

Luther and Soulive - Outstanding Performance

Luther and Soulive  (Photo by Phrazz)

Luther Dickinson (Photo by Phrazz)

Luther Dickinson (Photo by Phrazz)

When southern-style slide guitarist Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi AllStars) joined the stage, all hell broke loose.  Literally, broke shit up all over our brains and faces.  Booker T. and the MG’s cover “Hip Hug Her” started slow and simple, a playing quality that Luther Dickinson has perfected with his understated simplicity and lightening fast fingers.  Initially, after the great versions of Soulive’s original songs had just brought the energy up, Dickinson’s simplistic playing and calm warm-up seemed to bring the energy down but only for that first song. The set continued with Dickinson, Krasno and the Evan brothers elevating their quality of playing to the peak of high energy for the evening, downright melting the audience’s faces with solo after solo after solo.

Dickinson and Krasno (Photo by Phrazz)

Dickinson and Krasno (Photo by Phrazz)

At one point, the wonderful Alan Evans was left alone the stage for an isolated drum solo lit by a single house light. His serious composure throughout the evening provided the foundation for all this musical majesty to take place. Neal Evans’ organ play was deep, intense, raw and when paired with the slide guitar of Dickinson, brought Soulive’s sound to new heights. It is collaborations like these that make Bowlive so special.  How can we watch the same group for ten nights in a row and not get bored? Well, that is their job and they do their job RIGHT!

Luther and Soulive - Outstanding Performance

Luther and Soulive (Photo by Phrazz)

At times when a song is taking off, I like to take a walk through the audience and listen to them, their comments, their critics (if they know what they are talking about) and just engage in the energy around me.  When they broke into “Hear My Train” by Jimi Hendrix, the rage that ensued both on stage and in the audience was palpable. “Holy Shit” and “Do you see what is happening on stage?” were common statement that could be heard throughout the sea of heady heads. People hushed those around them talking too loud and eyes were transfixed on the stage ~ (Some might say STFUAD – Shut The F*&K Up And Dance). The foursome encored with another Hendrix song, “Stone Free,” a tight, jamming song that cemented the power of the evening and left the audience screaming with thunderous applause.

WINNING!!!!

WINNING!!!! (Photo by Phrazz)

Bowlive III had begun in New York City!!  We only prayed that we could handle it because after the freight train of rage that was released that night; there would be no stopping it. The power that slides off of these performances are unlike any regular 2-set performances you attend. The energy and collaborations that I would enjoy in the coming weeks would far surpass many musical runs I might experience.  TEN NIGHTS!!!!  That is a superb feat for any musician of ANY age to accomplish. For those of us with day jobs and for those of us expected to process material by the next morning, it’s even more of a feat. One that I have been proud to be a part of for the last two years.

Setlist Rage!

The Initial Setlist!

Download Night 1 Sound Board Audio Here!

Pictures by Phrazz

Videos by Marc Millman and mkdevo

Words by The Tiny Rager

Check out some amazing Bowlive Shots by Michael Jurick here!

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Bowlive II: Night One – Soulive w/ Lettuce and Maceo Parker

(Photo by Allison Murphy)

Photo by Allison Murphy)

Bowlive 2, a two week Soulive residency at the Brooklyn Bowl, kicked off yesterday firing on all cylinders.  For a Tuesday, the venue was packed! You could literally feel The Gods of Funk smiling down upon the Bowl’s stage the entire night as we were delivered one of the funkiest weeknights the Brooklyn Bowl has seen.

(Photo by Allison Murphy)

(Photo by Allison Murphy)

Right off the bat it was evident that this year would be different. There were more cameras propped up around the venue to tape the magic that would take place over the ten day run.  There were three beautiful tapestries lining one of the walls with Eric Krasno‘s face shimmering in gold.  There was a Soulive backdrop on the wall across from the merchandise table set up for fans to take pictures in front of.  But the biggest difference this year…Bowlive 2 opening night sold more tickets than The Funky Meters did on their opening night.  That is crazy!!  Last year on opening night the venue was barely half full.  It was quite literally myself, my boys Rob and Russ and maybe 50 other people.  It was also the night that I met the wonderful musical blogger of ViewsSkewed.com, Meredith Berke.  I can safely say, without her assistance and guidance, Tinyrager.com may never have existed 🙂

(Photo by Allison Murphy)

(Photo by Allison Murphy)

The Nigel Hall Band

Nigel Hall – Keys, Vocals
Eric Krasno – Bass
Adam Deitch – Drums
Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff – Guitar
Alan Evans – Percussion
Neal Evans – Keys, bass
Tania Jones– Backup vocals
Mel Flannery – Backup vocals

Special Guest:
Ryan Zoidis – Alto Saxophone

Last year’s Bowlive saw Nigel Hall singing alone at his Rhodes until the ends of his set when members of Soulive and Lettuce would join in to help him close it out with major energy.  After a year of rotating back ground singers and putting together various combinations of musicians, The Nigel Hall Band has finally gotten it’s core group on lock down.

(Photo by Michael Jurick)

(Photo by Michael Jurick)

(Photo by Michael Jurick)

(Photo by Michael Jurick)

A little after 9pm, The Nigel Hall Band, consisting of Eric Krasno on bass, Adam Deitch on drums, Neal Evans on organ, Alan Evans on percussion, Mel Flannery and Tania Jones on backup vocals and Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff on guitar, hit the stage filling the excessively packed venue with soulful songs layered with get-down funk.  It’s always awesome seeing Krasno on bass.  He is so smooth with his guitar and to see him with a bass while others fill the guitar spot,  well, it’s fun! The always soulful Hall, decked out in an orange and white argyle sweater and a baseball cap, geared us up in a way that only he could.  While most songs were sung seated at his Rhodes, Hall sang his way through fan favorites such as “Never Know” and “Gimmie A Sign.”

Engaging the audience with his expressive nature, Hall danced around the stage for “Never Gonna Let You Go” and “Too Sweet” during which Ryan Zoidis came out for an impromptu saxophone solo.   Nigel Hall’s undeniable energy is exactly why Soulive has slated him to open for the remainder of the Bowlive 2 run.

Set List: Baby We Could Have It All (end), Hang It Up,  Back Home, Give Me A Sign, Too Sweet, Never Know, Never Wanna Let You Go

Click here to download a copy of the performance for your enjoyment!

(Photo by Allison Murphy)

(Photo by Allison Murphy)

Soulive

Eric Krasno – Guitar
Neal Evans – Keys, bass
Alan Evans – Drums

(Photo by Allison Murphy)

(Photo by Allison Murphy)

By the time the members of Soulive were set to hit the stage, the Brooklyn Bowl was a sardine can busting at the edges with excitement.  However, before the anticipated set could begin, Brooklyn Bowl owner Peter Shapiro came on stage to express his gratitude for this musical event and for the audience participation by offering 600 shots of Tequila which were delivered by the tray full throughout the venue.

The lucky residents of New York City recognized that even though this was a school night, nothing would keep them from enjoying the first night of what is expected to be a giant success of a musical run. Pete knew this and the turn out was jaw-dropping.  Perhaps everyone felt stupid for missing Lettuce and Maceo Parker playing Brooklyn Bowl together back in January.  Perhaps they just heard how good it was and needed to check these guys out for themselves.

(Photo by Michael Jurick)

(Photo by Michael Jurick)

Nigel Hall comes to the front of the stage and screams into the microphone, “Are you ready to Rage?”…a pitiful response follows.  He repeats himself and the venue caught on.  We were ready to rage.

Finally, the hosts for the night, guitarist Eric Krasno, drummer Alan Evans and organist Neal Evans, appropriately dressed in Royal Purple, entered on stage and the Brooklyn Bowl erupted.  Over the course of the next hour, the funky trio blasted through “El Ron” and releasing a fantastic “One in Seven” on us before offering us a few Beatles covers from their latest album, Rubber Soulive.

Set List: El Ron, Aladdin, One in Seven, Come Together, Eleanor Rigby—>I Want You (She’s So Heavy)

Click here to download a copy of the performance for your enjoyment!

(Photo by Michael Jurick)

(Photo by Michael Jurick)

Lettuce w/ Maceo Parker

Maceo Parker – Saxophone

Eric Krasno – Guitar
Neal Evans – Keys, bass
Adam Deitch – Drums
Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff – Guitar
Alan Evans – Percussion, Vocals
E.D. “Jesus” Coomes – Bass, Vocals
Ryan Zoidis – Alto Saxophone
Cheme Gastelum – Saxophone
Igmar Thomas – Trumpet
Brian Thomas – Trombone
Eric Bloom – Trumpet
Nigel Hall – Keys, Vocals

Special Guest:

Alecia Chakour – Vocals
James Hurt – Keys

(Photo by Allison Murphy)

(Photo by Allison Murphy)

Lettuce came on stage raging full force into the appropriately named “Blast Off” with “Last Suppit” following. A few songs in, Maceo Parker, the leader of James Brown’s infamous horn section, joined the stage.  As he enters, he playfully goes for Nigel Hall‘s baseball cap and then drops his hand and they share a laugh.  Now it was time to dance your ass off as they raged right into several covers beginning with Parliament Funkadelic’s “Up for the Down Stroke.”

(Photo by Michael Jurick)

(Photo by Michael Jurick)

It was pretty sick to see Cheme join the horns even though Sam wasn’t there and how it was nice they gave him real room to solo during the encores, the same way they gave James Casey a long solo during “Get Back” last year. ~ Russ Agdern

(Photo by Allison Murphy)

(Photo by Allison Murphy)

The tidal wave of funk through the combination of Lettuce and Maceo continued to bring the fire with “Uptown Up” were Maceo rapped the Corey Parker verse.  “There Was a Time,” a James Brown favorite, saw Adam Deitch solo on the drums as Maceo Parker teased Brown’s “Cold Sweat” over top.  At one point Parker focuses on  It was then time to give Ray Charles a little love as Maceo and the gang brought it down nice and slow for “Night Time is the Right Time” where Alecia Chakour ripped a solo that had all eyes on her and people asking left and right, “Who was this phenomenal voice?”

(Photo by Michael Jurick)

(Photo by Michael Jurick)

The remainder of the set continued to up the heat with funky vibes and soulful solos. Alecia Chakour joined backup vocals as Maceo Parker exited the stage.  She is absolutely amazing.  Talk about attitude and vocal style. Straight soul sista right there.  An audience member got on a friend’s shoulder and screamed for her during her solo before being asked to get down. The energy in this place was killer.

(Photo by Michael Jurick)

(Photo by Michael Jurick)

(Photo by Michael Jurick)

(Photo by Michael Jurick)

There was a time where there were at least 8 people on stage and they were all just playing, improving beats. Nigel and Chakour inserting their voices in various places.  The focus was again on Nigel Hall as he busts out his vocals with “Making My Way Back Home.” Acclaimed Jazz pianist, James Hurt, popped in for a few minutes to tear up “Pass the Peas” and  again for the encore of “By Any Schmeans Necessary.” Somewhere in the middle of all of it, Maceo Parker returns to the stage in his long winter jacket, looking all ready to walk out the door, but not without one more goodbye!

Set List: Blast Off, Last Suppit, P-Funk Medley including: Up for the Down Stroke/Mothership Connection/Let’s Take It To The Stage/take Your Dead Ass Home, Uptown Up, There Was a Time, Night Time is the Right Time, Shake Everything U Got, Pass the Peas, Soul Power tease, Makin My Way Back Home.

Encore: Sam’s Flying Huff Machine, By Any Schmeans Necessary

Click here to download the Lettuce Set

(Photo by Allison Murphy)

(Photo by Allison Murphy)

Tonight Soulive will take the stage with yet another serving of Lettuce along with a few sides of hip-hop MC Pharoahe Monch and WAX.  Be prepared to be blown away by their spittin’ lyrics and fresh beats.

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Thank you Cloud 9 Adeventures and MSC Crusies!!

Thank you Cloud 9 Adventures and MSC Cruises!!

There are music festivals and then there is Jam Cruise!!  A musical festival on a cruise ship that travels international seas for 5 to 6 days.  I said it last year and I will say it again now.  IT IS THE GREATEST MUSICAL ADVENTURE anyone can take.

Last year, I was at a complete loss for words.  It was my Virgin Cruise and I was awestruck by the magnitude of what I had just experienced.  Considering this was my second year, I thought the hype would be just a bit dimmer, I figured I would be a little less anxious and calm.  Nope!

Even now, while I could burst at the seams ATTEMPTING to explain these EPIC musical journeys, I find it so hard figuring out where to start. It’s all so unbelievable.  I could tackle these articles by day, or perhaps by subject regarding the atmosphere, the music or the people and so much more. I could write a five page article just on the relationship cultivations that took place this year.  There is just so much!!! And the fact that I only slept about 10-12 hours over the span of 5 days gives me an arsenal of memories to pull from.

Jam Cruise 9 Website Banner

Jam Cruise 9 Website Banner

Last year Tinyrager.com didn’t exist as it’s own site.  I wrote for other sites but mainly for my own personal cataloging of memories and would just save the documents on my computer.  So, after last year’s Jam Cruise, I began writing out my adventure and I never made it past the Sail Away Party.

My life took off before I could finish my personal Jam Cruise manifesto.  But I did make an attempt and the end result was all the glorious details about the embarkation line to the ship, the embarkation process, what happened when I explored the boat stumbling across the various venues and checking into my room with the gift bags and what not.  I wrote about everything I could remember up until the Sail Away Party….and then I stopped.

This year, I am going to continue where I left off at the Sail Away Party with a few backtracking steps.  There is no need for me to re-write the exact same information about the boat for this article. If you would like to know about all the things listed above then CLICK HERE!  The article is totally relevant to this one and worth the read and would help cement your mind if you are still debating on getting on the boat.  Jam Cruise staff actually found it last year and blasted it over their page a few times due to the comprehensive nature of the article.  So, enjoy that! It’s got great pictures too!

Now, let’s get this party started!!!

Hello Pretty Ship!! (Photo by Murray)

Hello Pretty Ship (Photo by Murray)

~ Boarding & Pre-Sail Away ~

Within MINUTES, sooooo much can happen to you on Jam Cruise.  This year, I boarded the boat in what felt like 15 minutes but was really a little over/under an hour.  As we get our room keys and begin the walk into the ship, I gaze to my right and Bob Weir is standing next to me. He pulled himself from the line and leans against the wall looking dazed, confused and very skinny. Had he been standing by us the whole time and we been too excited to notice?  He didn’t have an entourage and he looked so frail I guess it’s possible.  As my friends and I realized the magnitude of this moment, we all said “Hello Bob!” and he flashed us a forced smile.  I couldn’t tell if he was happy or sad but I knew how we felt! FREAKING STOKED!!!

A few more feet through the line and we were shuffled into the section where you get your boarding pictures taken. You could purchase the pictures for $30 if you wanted, but whoa that is a lot.  However, in the group behind us, Steve Kimock jumped into the picture.  Now THAT is a $30 moment worth purchasing!!  And there you had another group of people whose minds were just blown and we hadn’t even made it on the boat yet.  Sadly, my hunt for these pictures has come to a dead end. They are gone once you leave the ship.

Before all hell broke loose :) (Photo By Murray)
The NYC Krewe + some before all hell broke loose 🙂 (Photo By Murray)

I was in line with two of my best friends from NYC and we were in different rooms. Once we boarded the boat we separated so I could take my luggage to my room and unpack as fast as possible as not to miss a moment.  I was wearing my Big Sam’s Funky Nation tee-shirt, READY for the Sail Away Party. READY to see my main man Big Sam.  As I step into the mirrored elevator with my luggage, I was covered by this giant shadow of a man who had followed behind me.  And as I turn around, I am embraced by none other than Big Sam. Having reached out to me after he saw one of my reviews of his show, he flashed a smile that melted me as I got a huge hug! What a super duper dude! I will have TONS to say about him later in these articles.

(Photo by Jeffery Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffery Dupuis)

Last year I was in the Singles Program.  The layout of my room this year was exactly like last year except that I was now with two friends I had met on my virgin cruise: Aaron and Victoria, a super cute Jam Cruise couple who completely enhanced my journey. Thank you both for being such wonderful roommates.    I entered an empty room and unpacked as fast as I could. When I walked out of my room, I just didn’t know which way to turn. There were SO many people I wanted to see who I hadn’t seen since last year’s journey and whose relationship was cultivated through Facebook over the year as we waited patiently to all be together again.  There was so much I wanted to do all in one moment but I knew where I needed to be.    This year, I had a krewe from NYC on the boat and one of them was a virgin, my dear sweet friend Jessica.  I wanted to see their room and be with her.  I just wanted to watch her take it all in because that must have been what I was like last year with my jaw on the ground.

Jam Cruise is over but we know that time will last forever. From the minute I walked into 10242 there was nothing but LOVE. Jessica who I’vereally never met treated me (and everyone) like I was a saint or angel or something. We constructed the door decor (bonding) and the RAGE was on ! Off to Eric’s to gather the troops and start the search for the bottom of the tequilla bottle. A short time later we were off to the pool deck to find the angel Karen has been talking about: Hillary! ~ Murray Ballz

~ Door Décor Competition ~

Sharon & Said's Decor!!  (Photo by Richmand Images)

Sharon & Said's Decor!! (Photo by Richmand Images)

As I entered their room, the faces looking at me were already more shiny and sparkly then when we had left in line.  The Jam Cruise blood was flowing through their veins. Their room was bigger with a balcony.  It’s always good for SOMEONE in your rage krewe to have a balcony! They had taken out all the makings for their door décor and were attempting to assemble it.  Their concept was beautiful.  Using pictures of multiple artists and groups that inspired them, along with artists that couldn’t make it on the boat as well as pictures of allllllll our friends and families who couldn’t make it on the boat, we were to create a collage covering the door and then we placed a mirror in the middle.  On the mirror’s top it read: “We are all on board together.”  On the mirror’s bottom: “And so are you!” So, that when you look into the mirror, everyone is together, connected somehow on board together.  I loved it!

A typical hallway on Jam Cruise (Photo by Chad Smith)

A typical hallway on Jam Cruise (Photo by Chad Smith)

(Photo by Murray)

(Photo by Murray)

We spent a few hours cutting pictures, tapping things.  The rest of our NY posse rolling through the room to say Hi and get the best hugs in the world.  This also began the utilization of the deck for party breaks which, as time passed, began making it hard for us to focus and use tape correctly HAHAHA!!  The mirror began messing with my head; Rob couldn’t roll a piece of tape to save his life! It was awesome! Oh, you should have seen it.

During this time, the magic of the boat presented itself to us with the introduction of Rob and Jess’s neighbors.  When we ran out of tape, they came right in for the rescue. When we needed writing done for the mirror, they were right there with a solution and Maker’s Mark on the rocks. No matter what you want, you get what you NEED on Jam Cruise! From masking tape to enlightenment.

Putting "our" door decor!! (Photo by Murray)

Putting "our" door decor!! (Photo by Murray)

The final product was perfect. A door COVERED with people and musicians we love that couldn’t be on the boat with us, yet they were, even if it was only in this small way.  Throughout the week, any number of our NYC posse could be found sitting on the floor starting at our door. Staring at our loved ones, staring at Jerry and Janis.  Personally, I was found passed out with my hand on the picture of myself and my boyfriend on the first night and was guided back to bed for what would be the only night I would sleep in my cabin!!!

And in terms of what door enhanced my JC experience the most??   Door number #9211.  This door was covered in 3D pictures from last year’s Jam Cruise.  There were numerous 3D glasses attached to the wall by string so you could see the pictures.  It just got cooler every time I saw it. And at one point, I didn’t even NEED the glasses to see it in 3D.  So, anyway, TINYRAGER award to Room #9211 for making us go OUT of our way at least 2 times a day to check out your door!

Forum Party/ Sharon's Birthday Rage! (Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

Forum Party/ Sharon's Birthday Rage! (Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

Once we finished the door we  realized that we missed the forum party on the pool deck.  They had gathered to give Sharon R. a proper Happy Birthday.  I am so sorry I missed this Sharon!  Love you! And now…it was time for the Sail Away Party!!!

Jam Cruise Day One Schedule!!

Jam Cruise Day One Schedule!!

~ Big Sam’s Funky Nation / Sail Away Party ~ Pool Deck ~

Photo By Rex-A-Vision

Photo By Rex-A-Vision

The wonderful Julie McCoy (Photo by Chad Smith)

The wonderful Julie McCoy (Photo by Chad Smith)

The Sail Away Party is phenomenal and truly defines the rest of the voyage.  Julie McCoy, the ship’s activities coordinator/manager/queen bee, comes on to the stage.  Free champagne is distributed amongst the cruisers lining the pool deck and The Captain and Julie McCoy toast us off on our journey.  Then the horns blow and you now know…the party has OFFICIALLY begun. As well, Sweet Water Brewery gives out free beer at during this set, wonderful news for the alcohol drinkers, if you like their flavors!

Photo by Rex-A-Vision

Photo by Rex-A-Vision

I walked to the front row with my friends, toasted, and then stepped away for a moment alone. I was alone on the top level of the Pool deck last year for the beginning of Trombone Shorty’s Sail Away Party and I wanted to be in the similar location and just be alone, connecting with the ship, for a few moments.  If you read my post from last year, you know the turmoil I was in before I boarded this magical vessel that changed my world.  So, I walked up to my sacred spot, snapped a picture of the amazing sight I was staring at and took one giant breath. Upon exhaling that breath came SO MANY tears, I almost collapsed.  The flood gates opened upon the realization that I was back. I was back in this music world; this musical WONDERLAND that completely CHANGED MY LIFE! And this year was going to be SO different than last year.

~ Big Sam Sail Away Party~ Raging Audience Shot from Stage ~

Photo By Rex-A-Vision

Photo By Rex-A-Vision

After letting the tears flow for 2 songs, I gathered myself, with the help of a few people around me, and went back down to the front row, puffy faced and all smiles.  For those of you who don’t know much about the boat or who are not large into the music scene, the front row is where it’s at.  I was greeted into the front row where all the best people reside in most musical scenes, let alone Jam Cruise. But I suppose I need to talk about music here at some point right?  Wasn’t this a music festival on a ship?

THE FUNKY NATION:

Big Sam– Trombone
Danny Abel – Guitar
Eric Vogel – Bass
Drummer Boy Milk Williams – Drums
Da Phessah Drew Baham – Vocal/Trumpet

Not so great mobile pic of the View from my "alone" spot (Photo by TinyRager)

Not so great mobile pic of the View from my "alone" spot (Photo by TinyRager)

I have seen Big Sam numerous times throughout the year. I was worried that his Sail Away party would be the same formulaic shows that I had seen him perform over the year.  But that wasn’t the case.  Where there was a similar flow to it all, Big Sam covered some great songs, added some new dance moves…they just brought us a new show and the audience ate it right up.

Photo by Rex-A-Vision

Photo by Rex-A-Vision

During the fourth song, the ship’s debarking horn blew, the pool deck erupted with cheers and we started moving.   Immediately, the heavy hitters started joining the party.  If nothing else, Jam Cruise is about the various musical combination of artists you can find  performing on the boat. You NEVER know who is going to sit in with whom.  In this case, Leo Nocentelli (The Meters) joined Big Sam for “Gonna Get Funked Up Tonight” and Fred Wesley (JB Horns) followed for “See Me Dance”.

~ Big Sam Sail Away Party~ Top of Pool Deck Perspective ~

Now, The Funky Nation is know for their ability to rage cover songs as well as create new edgy music. Throughout the set he blew some heat into Gnarls Barkley‘s “Crazy”, The Black Crowes/Otis Redding‘s “Hard To Handle”  and their final song of the set was a mash up of Cee Lo Green‘s “Fuck You” and Lady Gaga‘s “Bad Religion”.  This moment was special for me because when the song first came out, Josh and I literally blasted that Cee Lo Green song for a month straight every morning while getting ready for work.  The song is hilarious and the video is even more so.  In this moment, I looked around the pool deck and saw people kinda staring blankly.  Except for a few people, they didn’t recognize the song.  The entire set lived up to it’s expectations.  It was high energy, full of flare and raging rock funk.

Set List:

01. Intro
02. ?? (jam/instrumental)
03. Feelin’
04. King of the Party
05. ?? (instrumental)
06. Gonna Get Funked Up Tonight
07. See Me Dance
08. Big Ole Booty
09. Hard to Handle
10. Do Watcha Wanna > Everybody Needs Someone to Love > You Are My Sunshine tease > ??
11. Dance Floor
12. Up In Here >
13. jam >
14. ?? >
15. Crazy > Get Low >
16. band intros/banter >
17. Fuck You > Bad Romance tease

Download Big Sam’s Funky Nation Set

At this point we had half an hour until any music started. Being that this was the first night, I can’t believe they had lulls but this year’s scheduling seemed to be staggered differently so whatever. Gave us time to debate!  The options were:

1) Bob Weir‘s Scaring The Children on the Pool Deck (9:30pm-11:30pm)

2) Greensky Bluegrass in the Zebra Bar (9:15pm-10:45pm)

3) Robert Randolph and the Family Band in Teatro Carlos Felice (9pm-11pm)

Already, my heart was racing with the fact that I knew I would be missing things I didn’t want to miss.  This year, I knew I would be spending a significant amount of time the first few days cultivating relationships and so I made a point to schedule the music I loved but also plan to hang out where a large percentage of my Jamily might be.

Most of the performers have two sets over the course of the week so I was ok with missing things here and there and catching them later.  In general, the inner turmoil for me over what music to see is the most stress I feel on that ship.

Carlos Felice Theater! (Photo by TinyRager)

Carlos Felice Theater! (Photo by TinyRager)

I took off for Robert Randolph and the Family Band, riding on a cloud.  When I got there, the theater greeted me with all its purple and gold majesty.  This is my favorite venue on the ship. Again, you can learn about the ship from last year’s posts.  But I will tell ya that the purple and gold colors are beautiful and remind me of my college, there are two levels to rage on, the elevated steps in front of the stage are perfect for our drinks, extra costume accessories like boas, hats and what not.  The stairs are also rounded and this allows for a much larger front row throwdown.

I got to the theater and no one was really even in there and the roadies were still setting up.  Speaking of cultivating relationships, I met a lovely twin set named Cindy and Mindy, who inevitably raged the front row with the best of us the whole cruise. Rage on ragers. Big hugs to you both!

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)
(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

~ Robert Randolph and the  Family Band ~ Theatro Carlo Felice ~

Robert Randolph – Pedal Steel, Guitar and Vocals

The Family Band:

Danyel Morgan – Bass and Vocals
Marcus Randolph – Drummer
Adam Smirnoff – Rhythm Guitar
Lenesha Randolph -Vocals
Brett Haas – Keyboards and Guitar

Special Geusts:

Eric Krasno – Guitar
Big Sam – Trombone
Ivan Neville – Keys
Taylor Hicks -Vocals & Harmonica

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)
(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

As I sat there, making new friends, old ones started arriving.  Said and Sharon’s smiling face made their way to our side of the theater. (Thanks to Said for the RR&TFB set-list below).  Then one by one the Jamily krewe gathered until we were 25+ deep on the left side of the stage. Oh, how I just want to talk about all these lovely people, not the music. It’s insane.  But that is not the purpose of this so…

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

Having seen Robert Randolph and the Family Band a few times this year and being disappointed in the performances, I was PRAYING that he would kick it back to his roots and focus on older songs, perhaps melt our faces without playing Lady Gaga tunes to fill time.  Perhaps give us some great covers; perhaps show us some great collaborations.  And that is exactly what they did.

Blasting off his set with “Ted’s Jam,” he shot me right back to ten years ago when I first found Robert and Danyel at Star Hill in Charlottesville, Virginia.  The newest addition to the clan, Lenesha Randolph, was on stage, backing up her brother.  I am still weary on her talent.  I won’t say anymore regarding that topic.

“The March” is one of my all time favorites Robert debuted years ago.  I was right up front with my musical posse and when Robert got off his seat and started dancing for us, we all knew the dance and joined along.  He asked us to teach those around us but he was doing a fine job wiggling his body for us….mmmmmm. And Danyel‘s bass thumped away. I am absolutely IN LOVE with Danyel and his voice.   Always have been!

A re-worked “Thriller” cover saw Eric Krasno and Big Sam join the stage and over the remainder of the set Ivan Neville and American Idol’s Taylor Hicks, yup Taylor Hicks, also joined the stage.


“Tears of Joy” brought the blues to an otherwise raging set and my faith in Robert Randolph and his family, however swaying it may have been hours earlier, was restored and his #1 fan was back on top, in the front row, loosing her mind!

Set List:

01. Ted’s Jam
02. ?
03. ?
04. The March
05. ?
06. If I Had My Way
07. Deliver Me
08. I Miss My Girlfriend (Her Name is Molly)
09. Thriller Jam
10. I Need More Love
11. Voodoo Chile
12. Tears of Joy
13. Traveling Shoes

Download Robert Randolph and the Family Band Theater Set

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

As soon as set ended, I hightailed it to the Pool Deck to check out the remainder of Bob Weir‘s Scaring The Children.  I ended up on the upper deck looking down at the sea of Dead heads who were staring doe-eyed at Bobby and Co. The wind was blowing warmly over my body as I realized we were so far from land now I couldn’t see lights.

I gave Bobby as much time as I could before wanting to leave.  Personally, I thought it sounded pretty slow and that is not a bad thing, I just needed something more to move to.  I wish I could recall the song that was playing.  Even though it was tough for me to look at Bobby, as all I could imagine was the scene from Indiana Jones where the guy takes the sip from the wrong chalice and his skin melts off,  it appeared that he was giving the people what they wanted.  Smiles abounded on the faces below me and I just knew that Jerry was smiling down upon the ship.

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

So, after Robert Randolph‘s set, we were faced with more difficult choices.

1) Pimps of Joytime in the Zebra Bar (11:00pm-1:00am)

2) Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe on the Pool Deck (12:30am-3:00am)

  • Sadly, I can not find a link for this set. If anyone finds one, please pass it along to me.

3) Anders Osborne with Stanton Moore and Carl Dufrene in the Teatro Carlos Felice (11:45pm-1:15am)

Having just seen Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe numerous time over the past year and just a few days earlier as the Phish After Party on New Years Eve, I decided to skip KDTU on the Pool Deck and focus on the Anders Osborne set.

Performing on same stage as Robert Randolph, the Anders set was going to take a little time to prepare as they transferred over the equipment.  I used this time to gather my thoughts, fill up my water bottle and grab a bite to eat. I don’t want to go into the food just yet…too stressful.

(Photo by Michael Weiss)

(Photo by Michael Weiss)

~ Anders Osborne with Stanton Moore and Carl Dufrene ~ Teatro Carlo Felice ~

(Photo by Dave Vann)

(Photo by Dave Vann)

I had missed Anders Osbourne the few times he made his way through NYC the past year and having seen him in the past, I KNEW he would rip up whatever stage he was on with his rouge, wild, rockin’ New Orleans vibe.  That is exactly what I was looking for at this time in the evening.

His back up band was a force to be reckoned with.  Joining  the stage this set was:

Anders Osbourne – Guitar and Vocals
Robert Walter – B3 Organ
Carl Dufrene – Bass
Stanton Moore -Drums

Special Guests:

Scott Metzger – Guitar
Will Bernard – Guitar
Skerik – Saxaphone

(Photo by Michael Weiss)

(Photo by Michael Weiss)

This set was complete fire!!!  I mean absolutely out of control, rock-laced guitar shredding jams, backed by outrageous solos by Skerik and added guitar layers by way of Scott Metzger and Will Bernard.  At the time, it was my favorite set of the night and in hindsight, it is in my top five sets of the week.  The inclusion of Skerik‘s hyper-driven saxophone layered upon Anders songs was, well……take a look at this….seriously.

Set List:

1. Tuning
2. Love Is Taking Its Toll
3. Echoes Of My Sins
4. Darkness At The Bottom
5. Burning On The Inside
6. Got Your Heart
7. Me Donkey Want Water

Download Anders Osborne Theater Set

(Photo by Dave Vann)

(Photo by Dave Vann)

And here we were back having to make decisions!!

1) Papadosio in the Zebra Bar (1:45am-3:15am)

Set List:
1. Utopiate
2. Unparalyzer
3. Magreenery
4. Bionic Man
5. All I Knew
6. Method Of Control
7. Cue
8. Polygons
9. Eyes Have Eyes

2) Stockholm Syndrome in the Teatro Carlos Felice (2:00am-4:00am)

3) Nutritious in the Disco (2:00am-6:00am)

4) AND THE LAST CHOICE!!!!  The Jam Room: Hosted by Tony Hall (12:00am – 6:00am)

Now we come to the greatest and grandest part of the Jam Cruise experience. THE JAM ROOM!! Each night, a different musician (generally a guitar player, keys player or bass player) hosts The Jam Room.  The Jam Room is a entertainment space located in the rear of the ship where these musicians play host to who ever wants to join them on stage.  Sometimes, there are pre-arranged gatherings or sometimes a musician just jumps up for a song and adds to the insanity.  Always, there are free jams, group rages and it’s all off the cuff improvisational jamming.

~ The Jam Room with Host Tony Hall ~

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

Tonight’s Jam Room host was Tony Hall, New Orlean’s Dumpstaphunk bass player. Tony is one of the most charismatic musicians around.  He is always invested in engaging with his audiences, making faces, pulling girls on stage, dancing with the audience.  He is one of my favorites in that aspect.

Sadly there is not a lot of footage from the Jam Room to show you.  Many Cruisers had already gone to bed to save their strength while others were raging so hard they couldn’t manipulate a camera or video device to save their life.  But I can tell you that it was a RIPPING good Jam Room.

It was an epic moment lost on the winds of the ocean and remembered only by those that were present… ~ Ananda Atmore

Tony Hall was backed by many of his bands mates from Dumpstaphunk to include:

Ivan Neville – Keys
Nick Daniels III – Bass
Raymond Weber – Drums
Ian Neville – Guitar

Other Guests:

Big Sam – Trombone
Nigel Hall (Lettuce/SCFJ)- Keys
Danny Louis (Gov’t Mule/Stockholm Syndrome) – Keys
Eric Krasno (Lettuce) – Guitar
Adam Deitch (Lettuce) – Drums
Ron Johnson (SCFJ) – Bass
Zach Deputy – Guitar
Roosevelt Collier (The Lee Boys) – Pedal Steel Guitar

There was so much happening on stage there is no way to recall it all.  One of the last songs played in the jam room that night was Jimi Hendrix‘s “Hey Joe”. The Lee BoysRoosevelt Collier jumped up on stage and confused the hell out of us as he was only a passenger on the ship thus year!  SO FUN when things like that happen.  You know it’s a good time when other musicians pay to get on board.

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

(Photo by Rex-A-Vision)

Tonight would be the only night that I came back to my room to sleep.  The theme one must know and get to embrace on Jam Cruise is: “It’s a marathon, not a sprint!” It appeared that everyone had taken that creed to heart as I wondered around the pool deck wondering where everyone was.  Where were the late night jam sessions and/or drum circles on the pool decks?  Where was Brock Butler playing his acoustic guitar to the people watching the sunrise.I am sure that they were somewhere, I just never stumbled upon them. It was destiny, however, because after raging the Unofficial Pre-Jam Cruise party at the Days Inn Bahia Cabana Beach Resort the night prior, I was exhausted.  I decided to watch the sunrise with my NYC crew and hear how our virgin cruiser Jessica B. had enjoyed her first night.

As I looked over the balcony, lost in the wake of the ship, my friends and I smiled at each other.  We watched the wake of the ship hit the tip of the horizon and we knew there was no turning back. We were together on this epic musical journey and there were so many adventures to be had.  I took myself to bed around 7am but not before touching the faces of all our family and friends that lined the door decor, wishing they were with us.  Sleep was needed as we had a full day at sea tomorrow.  I couldn’t wait to see what was in store for us when we final rose again.

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Terminal 5 Event Poster

Terminal 5 Event Poster

The Royal Family Ball @ Terminal 5 (10.02.10)

It was a night New Yorkers and beyond had been waiting for since it was first announced back in July.  The Royal Family would be taking over Terminal 5 for a night of pure FUNKY RAGE hosting their 3rd Annual Royal Family Ball. Knowing that The Royal Family is a tight brotherhood that rolls deep with love, we die hard fans  knew it would be a special night.  A night to remember, a night of complete surprises, a night of of complete funk, of blues, of rock ‘n’ roll.  A night requiring us to dance till we drop….simply a night we would NEVER forget.

Event Poster: The Royal Family Dream Team

Event Poster: The Royal Family Dream Team

For months, we have eagerly awaited this night.  The Royal Family had enticing little offers before the show such as rewarding the first 100 people to purchase a ticket with an autographed poster of The Royal Family.  Man, what a hilarious treat.  I, of course, jumped on that offer, buying my ticket at 12:01 pm, right when they went on sale, closing the sale out at 12:03pm.  Sadly, I didn’t get a poster but many of my friends did.  I will some how rectify this 😉 You can be sure of that!

The importance of this night and the energy behind it hit me the second I woke up Saturday morning.  I felt like it was Christmas.  As much music as I see, this was a show that had me jumping on my toes.  The anticipation was palpable.  For weeks before the big night, I had numerous friends from outside NY toy with the idea of coming in for the show.  However it was my dear friend Andy who was the only one to make the trip from Baltimore for the day/night.

“Street fair arepas… Gut bomb. Royal Family Revue… Funk bomb.” ~ Andy D.

They handed out party favors...

They handed out party favors...

This was one of those events where traveling would be worth it.  My phone had been blowing up all night prior to the show with friends wondering what was going down before the Rage.  In the end, we summoned all our favorite Ragers to a “Ragehearsal,” as one of my dear friends has come to so aptly name our rendezvous before the shows.  Everyone was eager to make a day of it.  A 24-hour rage.  The EPICNESS of what tonight might bring to our eyes and ears was lost on no one.

“Royals, you shook me, you shook me all night long. Powerful stuff.” ~ Robert M.

Of all the years I have been an Eric Krasno junkie, I have never been part of such a complete day and night full of The Royal Family.  And the best part about it…there were guests.  Oh yes, there were guests. Tonight’s rage would include performances by:

The Royal Family

Soulive

Lettuce

The Nigel Hall Band

Chapter 2

The Shady Horns

Special Guests

John Scofield – Guitar

Warren Haynes – Guitar

Talib Kweli – Rapper

Big Sam Williams – Trombone

The Shady Horns

Maurice Brown – Trumpet

Christian Scott – Trumpet

Spinning between sets: DJ Equal

Terminal 5 doors opened at 6:30pm and we were all in the building by 7:30pm, not wanting to miss a single minute of the show.  The venue was far from packed but by the end of the night, the 3,000-person venue was packed in on all sides. It was a night filled to the brim with the EPITOME of Funk, Soul, Blues, Rock, Hip-Hop and more. They play it all ladies and gentleman. And it all began, as it almost always does, with a set from The Nigel Hall Band. Let’s get this Royal Party started…..

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

The Nigel Hall Band @ 7:30/8:00pm

Nigel Hall – Keys, Vocals

Eric Krasno – Bass

Adam Deitch – Drums

Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff – Guitar

Sam Kininger -Saxophone

Ryan Zoidis – Alto & Baritone Saxophone

Maurice Brown – Trumpet

Alan Evans – Backup vocals

Lindsay Lucas – Backup vocals

Mel Flannery – Backup vocals

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

MVP OF THE NIGHT – It just needs to be said, flat out, hands down!!! ROYAL FAMILY MVP!  Nigel Hall started the show, performed throughout the show and closed the show with the highest elevation of energy and the full embodiment of what RAGE truly entails. He had been rehearsing for weeks with new back-up singers and the rest of the crew to deliver what was quite possibly the greatest performance I had ever seen him lay out on a stage.  As soon as I started seeing Nigel Hall perform many moons ago, I started recognizing a pattern prior to his performances and the pattern goes a little something like this…..

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Arriving early, I walk around the venue, listening to the audience talking.  Many are not sure of who this magnificent singing, keys player is who will be opening for whatever Royal Family Project is slated to open that night.  You hear a few people explain  “It’s Nigel Hall!” but they do not elaborate.  “Who is this Nigel Hall” you hear them wondering out loud?  I always want to stop and answer each one of them but I know that Nigel will be answering for himself as soon as the music starts.   And then he starts performing…and if not by the end of the first song, by the end of the second song the audience is locked in, jaws on the ground asking everyone around them, WHO IS THIS GUY!!!!?? But this time, they are really looking for answers, they actually care and are invested…floored by this magical singing machine.

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

And so it was this night.  I walked around the venue listening to people talking about what might happen on stage this night.  Noticing so many people asking about the opener, Nigel Hall.  What those around me didn’t realize yet was that he would steal the show.

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Tonight The Nigel Hall Band consisted of a thick wall of solid musicians that we all recognized and a few new faces to the mix.  His back up band consisted of those listed above.  Eric Krasno, the King of the Royal Family, supporting his fellow Family member on bass guitar.  Alan Evans stepping out of his drummer seat to sing backup vocals while Adam Deitch destroyed the drum kit.  Not wanting to be left out, from my second level perch I noticed Neal Evans hanging over by Deitch striking things with a single drum stick.  You might not have noticed him if you were on the ground level in front of the stage.

This was also the first time I had seen backup singers.  Lindsay Lucas and Mel Flannery‘s voices, supported by Alan Evans, melted seamlessly with Nigel‘s smooth vocals. This line-up of The Nigel Hall Band hit a home run. To begin, the stage was set with each member on stage, warming up the mics and the instruments for a funky introduction which Nigel steps out to in an orange Argyle sweater with a smile so wide I couldn’t help but mirror the image. And so it began…right into Hang It Up.

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Wait Till I Get Home had the Shady Horns completely blowing up the stage.  Ryan Zoidis completely standing out on the baritone sax.  Everywhere I looked…smiles. Second song in and the place was on fire. This is EXACTLY what Nigel Hall is meant to do and by GOD he does a GREAT job.  Never Know saw the Shady Horns exit and Krasno and Smirnoff backing Nigel on keys through the slow and smooth flow.

“I loved the show. I felt that Nigel stood out as there were many great musicians but only 1 best singer. I myself was born under a bad sign so I can relate.” ~ Josh R.

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Gimmie a Sign upped the funk meter ten-fold with Nigel funking up the keys.  He then takes a moment to explain to the audience, “This is a song that has stuck with me over many years after I heard this song as a young boy. I hope you enjoy it.” And while Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff completely let loose on his guitar, Nigel sang a soulful Baby, I Do Love You.

Give it up for the Horns,” screams Nigel.  With Never Gonna Let You Go closing out his set, Nigel Hall sang smoothly as his backup singers filled in when he walked off the stage.  And as Ryan Zoidis soloed on his axe of funk, Nigel came running back on stage, grabbing the mic, screaming “NEVER! NEVER! NEVEEEEER!”  His passion and his lust for life provides a fuel to his energy that is unmatched.  And this was only the first set 🙂

Nigel Hall Setlist: Intro, Hang It Up, Wait Till I Get Home, Too Sweet, Never Know, Gimme A Sign, Baby I Do Love You, Never Gonna Let You Go

Download: Nigel Hall Band @ Terminal 5 (10/02.10) – It is located under Lettuce’s Set

 

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

NOTE TO TAPERS!!  TAPE NIGEL’S SETS and post them.  Where is the love??? He is just as much a part of this raging cycle of music as anyone of them.  Just sayin….get with the program on that tip please.

After Nigel’s set, I decided to move from my second floor perch to ride the rail with my friends for a bit.  Sadly, my crew was situated right in front of the DJ Booth. However, I could see neither drums nor the horns.  Absolutely couldn’t stand that option for the rest of the night.  Even though I wanted to chill with my friends, I thought, well, I do that every night and this was a show I really had to SEE and inhale completely. So, I reserved myself to chillin on the second perch alone while my crew raged the rail! As it should be 🙂 Watching them, waving to them, laughing with them, we were all still connected as I was completely visible to them.  This was actually a part of the night that enhanced my happiness.  Seeing them react to Warren coming on stage…their faces, their jumping, screaming, hugging. Perfection.

DJ Equal spins in between sets

DJ Equal spins in between sets

Lettuce @ 8:45/9:00pm

Eric Krasno – Guitar

E.D. “Jesus” Combes – Bass, Vocals

Adam Deitch – Drums

Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff – Guitar

Neal Evans – Keys, Vocals

Sam Kinninger -Saxophone

Ryan Zoidis – Alto & Baritone Saxophone

Alan Evans – Percussion

Special Guests:

Big Sam Williams – Trombone

Maurice Brown – Trumpet

Christian Scott – Trumpet

John Scofield – Guitar

Talib Kweli – Rapper

Nigel Hall – Keys, Vocals

Set II: Lettuce w/ Talib Kweli, Big Sam, John Scofield

Set II: Lettuce w/ Talib Kweli, Big Sam, John Scofield

Set II: Lettuce w/ Talib Kweli, Big Sam, John Scofield

Set II: Lettuce w/ Talib Kweli, Big Sam, John Scofield

Soul singer Hall left the stage and was replaced by DA FUNKY FUNK!!!! One of my top ten favorite groups to have formed on this earth: LETTUCE.  Going on a little before/after 9pm, the entire original crew graced the stage, to include the rare appearance by E.D. “Jesus” Combes on bass.  Living on the West Coast, he is constantly working with big names such as Eminem, Dr. Dre and played bass and wrote/produced several tracks on Britney Spears new album Blackout.  I love E.D. “Jesus” Combes because he puts a lot of thought into the notes he chooses to play, sometimes bursting to the front of the stage with a blast of funk through his body. He totally grinds into his playing which I LOVE!.  He stands out with understated effort because his sound is unusual and not forced. You just got to hear him to understand.

“Excellent night all around. Nigel and Soulive were incredible, but Lettuce especially blew me away! Check out the rooftop area for a breather between sets. Nice joint!” ~ Markus S.

The stellar cast on stage played a handful of favorites to include Blast Off, Sam Huff’s Flying Ragin’ Machine and Last Suppitt before bringing out the guests.  Let it be made very clear that Lettuce completely set the stage on fire even without the guests.  They truly are so tight and on point every time and we were enjoying them so much.  The guests were simply a blessed bonus.  My hands were on the railing of my ledge and I was literally head banging with so much fury as their energy coursed through me.  The horn section with it’s supplements was completely out of control. FIRE FUNK!

Set II: Lettuce w/ Talib Kweli

Set II: Lettuce w/ Talib Kweli

“Talib was money” ~ Eric S.

“You have my quote on the evening… “Tits on bacon.” ~ Andy D.

The first guest and a personal favorite of the night was Talib Kweli.  Rapper’s delight. He brought such an unusual layer to the revue. Bringing the urban into an already straight up funky urban rage, he rapped through Move Something.

The whole joint start shakin

This ain’t the time or place for you to prove something

Cut the stargazin’ yo, move somethin’! ~ Talib Kweli

 

Set II: Lettuce w/ Talib & Nigel

Set II: Lettuce w/ Talib & Nigel

The Blast saw Nigel Hall back on stage as he joined in on vocals with Talib KweliNigel, man, the guy can do it all.  Albeit, he is not a rapper in my mind and probably never will be.  He did, however, bring a soulful layer to his rapping that Talib couldn’t touch as he continued to rap over/under Nigel.  “Jazzfest energy” was a term I heard among my friends to describe the energy of Talib‘s trio of songs ending with Get By.

Little focus on Nigel‘s vocals……

Set II: Lettuce

Set II: Lettuce

Talib and Nigel leave the stage for the originals, led by the ever amazing Eric Krasno, rage through Break Out and Relax. Eric Krasno, relentless, captivating.  His sound and style, one you could pick out of any crowd of guitar players.  Powerful musician…wonderful band leader.  With all his projects and large catalog of musicians under his Royal Family records, Eric Krasno ensures that our nights in NYC are constantly filled with talented musical projects and shows. I can’t imagine the city without Krasno, Deitch and the lot.  And here he was showcased in front of all his projects together in one night. Then as if things could get any better…John Scofield joined the stage…enjoy his warm up…

John Scofield, a legend.  A complete and utter master at his trade. Being billed right off the bat, this was one of the highlights of the show that everyone was anticipating that evening.  The Flu… it was amazing.  John took a little time to warm up in my opinion but then it got rowdy.  The horns were grimy, popping in sounds that reminded me of Skerik.  It got powerful. The guitar standing out on top of it all, the audience slightly more quiet now, just watching it unfold.

The Shady Horns with Big Sam on trombone was out of this world.  Orchestral.  Everything was so tight and then Scofield would go off into trippy spacey scratching of the guitar making faces to match.  He is endless with the sounds he can produce with a guitar.

Set II: Lettuce

Set II: Lettuce

And with a gracious introduction from Alan Evans, with the horns blasting out his name and with John Scofield still in the mix, Nigel Hall was brought back on stage to perform their Curtis Mayfield staple, Move On Up. As many times as I have heard Nigel sing this song and heard he say he was sick of singing it, this version was STELLAR!!! My video is not so great so just turn it down a little lower to hear it and watch it…

The one below is only 1 minute but much better sound. Thought I’d give ya everything 😉

One of the deepest, funkiest, raging songs of the night: Making My Way Back Home, a song about Nigel’s hometown of Washington, DC. Raised three hours away in Williamsburg, Virgina, I relate to this song well. The bass line is killer in  this song. Nigel, so interactive with the audience, breaks it down and just continually bringing the energy UP, UP, UP Chuck Brown-style!!! SARDINES & KRAZ AND SCHMEENS!!

Lettuce Setlist: Intro, Blast Off Sam Huff’s Flying Ragin’ Machine, Last Suppitt, King of the Bergs, Move Something, The Blast, Get By, Break Out, Relax, The Flu, Move On Up, Makin My Way Back Home

Download: Lettuce Live at Terminal 5 on 2010-10-02 (October 2, 2010)

Breaksciene’s Afterparty at The Loving Cup’s Cameo was announced and the merchandise was plugged….and the headlining group was finally announced.  Soulive.  Live it, learn it, love them!

Dj Equal spinning away...

Dj Equal spinning away...

Soulive @ 10:30/10:45pm

Eric Krasno – Guitar

Neal Evans – Keys, bass

Alan Evans – Drums

Special Guests:

Warren Haynes – Guitar

Big Sam Williams – Trombone

Rashawn Ross – Trumpet

Sam Kinninger -Saxophone

Ryan Zoidis – Alto & Baritone Saxophone

Maurice Brown – Trumpet

Christian Scott – Trumpet

John Scofield – Guitar

Nigel Hall – Keys, Vocals

Set III: Soulive + Shady Horns

Set III: Soulive + Shady Horns

Keys + Bass = Amazing

Keys + Bass = Amazing

You know about Soulive right? One of the greatest trios ever IMHO!! I sure hope you know who they are and if not, check them out. It’s a trio comprised of the virtuoso guitar player, Eric Krasno, drums played by Alan Evans and then there is Neal Evans who plays keys.  The standout detail about this group is that Neal also plays the bass through the second layer of his keys.  Seriously.  Now…what kind of brain can do that?  That takes a complicated mind right there.   Such a cool combination of sounds/notes/vibes.

Set III: Soulive + Shady Horns

Set III: Soulive + Shady Horns

Soulive came out dressed in stylish suits and slammed into Beatles tunes.  Their latest CD release, Rubber Soulive, has been something of a hot topic among talented music circles.  It’s luscious, loud and worth every single penny.  Bringing their own touch to classic Beatles tune such as Come Together, Something in the Way, and Eleanor Rigby, it’s just superb. Sing alongs ensued.  Come Together found it’s way into everyone’s throats and the audience sang for their tickets as Soulive played for  their lives. Jazz-filled funky rock. The following video is a wonderful collection of all the Beatles tunes.  Sit back, turn it up and watch the magic.  Best video of the article 🙂  Everyone say “Thank you Mike!”

Krasno completely ripped open the songs, jamming us all into the floor.  Backed by the brothers of rage, the Beatles medley was one of the highlights of the show. I Want You (She’s So Heavy) was on a different level all together. Everyone thank my boy Scott for the excellent video below!!

“Was really great to see Soulive hit a comfort level with the Beatles material that they really ripped into it- I want you (She’s so heavy) seemed to really hit another gear of nastiness as they did with that song what most instrumentalists I know have always wanted to do with it.” ~ Russ A.

Set III: Shady Horns + some!!

Set III: Shady Horns + some!!

And once the covers of the Rubber Soulive were done they blasted into their oldies but raging goodies with The Shady Horns (Sam Kinninger & Ryan Zoidis) joining the stage for El Ron.  The place was utterly packed and from my second floor perch, I could see everyone moving, groovin’ and clapping.  Christian Scott had joined the rage and John Scofield joins the stage again for What You See Is What You Get. Granted, Scofield is a god, but this song was stolen by Christian Scott‘s trumpet solo and Neal Evans‘s keys.

At this point, the show starts elevating into a high point that seems unreachable.  Time for a horn rage.  By this time Maurice Brown and Rashawn Ross have joined Christian Scott and the Shady Horns. A horn rage ensues but where is Big Sam Williams on the trombone?? Oh man….well, he tried to join the horn ledge, however, Christian Scott had taken his microphone so NOLA represented.  Walking behind the drum kit to the front of the stage, Big Sam took over Eric Krasno‘s vocal mic for an intense in-your-face solo.  Enjoy! (Turn down volume a bit – it’s one of mine)

Set III: Soulive!

Set III: Soulive!

It was time for Scofield to lead the show with one from his own catalog, the funk rock original Hottentot!! The whisper through the audience after this song was loud.  This song choice made a lot of people happy, as it should.  The song allowed for he & Krasno to trade licks and let loose for a great jam, which I thought might lead to the beginning of the end of Scofield’s addition to the stage, until possibly the encore.  Boy….I had no idea what I was thinking.  The best was totally yet to come…..

Since the album version was my ringtone for years, the surprise bust-out of Sco’s “Hottentot” was probably one of my favorite highlights. It had a slightly slower, nastier vibe to it that I really enjoyed. ~ Andy D.

WARREN joins the stage...

WARREN joins the stage...

And if you just watched the video above, then the end just gave it away but THE BEST WAS TOTALLY YET TO COME!!!  Warren Haynes……….WARREN HAYNES joined the stage.  I literally grabbed the bars in front of me and screamed at the top of my lungs while flailing around.  I couldn’t believe it.  I just couldn’t believe it.  What is more unbelievable is I had to tell all the people around me who that even was.  I believe they were there for Talib Kweli but they had NO clue who Warren was.  Unreal.  And so it was that the venue erupted into a ball of energy that the night had yet to see.

Set III: Soulive + Warren + Sco

Set III: Soulive + Warren + Sco

Born Under A Bad Sign, a song made popular by Cream and originally written by the legendary blues guitarist, Albert King.  Yes SIR!!  HOLY YES!!!!!!  What can I say about this?  It was phenomenal.  Warren Haynes, John Scofield and Eric Krasno on the stage at one time…kidding me?  Nigel Hall came out and sang alternating verses with Warren Haynes and there were mixed reviews over this move but I thought it was superb. Nigel, once again adding a layer to the mix that just felt right.

“Nigel’s voice is always a special treat. Being a longtime Soulive fan, I really appreciated their take on the Beatles. Oh Eleanor Rigby! Thank you Soulive, Nigel Hall and the whole crew for getting so many wonderful musicians together all on one stage for this major collaboration!” ~ Jessica B.

I’m actually a little torn on Nigel.  I think Warren could have held the vocals down on “Born Under a Bad Sign” on his own, though Nigel did rip Too Much and the JB mini set. ~ Russ A.

I always did say Warren sings like an angel. ~ Jessica B.

This was just such a treat. You had Big Sam on his trombone as well.  I mean, the $25 ticket was paid for so long ago but if anyone had any qualms, they were silenced by this mega, face-melting guitar threesome horn flip-out.  Nigel‘s voice was killer.  Warren was killer. The horns were unmatched.  Scofield was melting into the floor with his guitar.  Unreal.  For a minute, I forgot who I was there to watch.  Wondering who the true star of the show truly was. Scofield left the stage and the rest of the set was Nigel Hall tearing up the vocals and Soulive blasting the stage apart with funky goodness. It was so great!

(Doin the 2 Video is uploading.  I’ll insert it tomorrow)

The encore was a James Brown Medley of all kinds of songs.  John Scofield came back out.  During the 3rd song, Nigel miscounted the beats and had a little rage to a stop and rewind the moment.  TWENTY!!!  And the second time around it went down right and they dropped the funk into our faces and dripped funk until they exited the stage.  JAMES BROWN MEDLEY!!  Think about that energy if you can!  Those of you there, remember that?  Nigel screaming, horns blasting…

There was some kind of swagger in the Soulive set that night. maybe it was that this was the biggest paying crowd for them headlining a show in nyc, maybe it was just feeling good on the material, maybe it was the hard work, but they played the hell out of those tunes. they owned those tunes. ~ Russ A.

Soulive Setlist: Come Together, Something In The Way, Eleanor Rigby, I Want You (She’s So Heavy),

El Ron, What You See Is What You Get, Hottentot, Born Under a Bad Sign, Do The 2, Too Much, JB Medley w/ John Scofield

Download: Soulive Live at Terminal 5 on 2010-10-02 (October 2, 2010)

 

THANK YOU ROYAL FAMILY!!!

THANK YOU ROYAL FAMILY!!!

 

It was a phenomenal night of music at Terminal this night.  for $25 you just couldn’t beat what we had just witnessed.  There was a fire on stage and an energy pumping thorugh the venue that I hadn’t felt before.  The crowd being so diverse, some coming for Talib Kweli and not knowing Warren Haynes.  Others knowing Warren Haynes but not Nigel Hall.  Others boasting about Lettuce but knowing nothing of John Scofield.  I think the greatest part of the night was knowing that a lot of people were introduced to a lot of new music and musicians this night.  I hope they went home and looked up Warren Haynes and Talib Kweli and Nigel Hall.

The Royal Family ensures that New York City will remain at the forefront of musical collaborations and musical history.  I feel as though whenever The Royal Family has a big to-do, they out do themselves every single time.  Thank you Royal Family.  Thank you for feeding us, supplying us with the music we need to survive.

Thank You SO MUCH!!!

Thank You SO MUCH!!!

 

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