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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

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The Funky Meters (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

The Funky Meters (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

Three Nights of The Funky Meters @ The Brooklyn Bowl (01.15-17.11)

This was an event!  In the same spirit as Phanatics travel to Coventry for three nights of Phish, died hard Meters fans traveled far and wide to witness The Funky Meters magic occur over a span of three nights at the beloved Brooklyn Bowl in Brooklyn, NY.

For having never been to New York, I have never felt more at home in a brand new place. I can’t help but compare the room to the Rock N Bowl in New Orleans, a similar venue with a bowling alley and large stage for music, but this room has a great layout. A bar in the back, with a large dance floor area, the stage straight ahead. And to the side, a few steps up, rows of bowling lanes, with a walkway in front, providing a side stage vantage that lets one really feel like part of the performance. Everywhere you stand, there is a great vantage point of the stage, the lighting is good and the sound quality anywhere in the room was great too. ~ NOLA resident, Ananda Atmore

George Porter Jr. (Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

George Porter Jr. (Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

Back in 1967, Art “Poppa Funk” Neville collected a funky gang of New Orleans musicians who would come to be known as The Meters, .  George Porter Jr. played bass, Art “Poppa Funk” Neville played keys, Joseph (Zigaboo) Modeliste on drums and Leo Nocentelli on guitar! In 1977, they called it quits, leaving behind a musical legacy cementing them as Funk pioneers.

Russel Batiste (Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

Once the group disbanded, Art “Poppa Funk” Neville joined with his brothers performing as The Neville Brothers while George Porter Jr. founded PBS, or Porter, Batiste and Stolz.  Since The Neville Brothers were not touring this season, Art Neville was openly available to hit the road with The Funky Meters, who are the members of PBS with the addition of Art “Poppa Funk” Neville.

Art “Poppa Funk” Neville – Keys
George Porter, Jr. – Bass
Brian Stoltz – Guitar
Russell Batiste, Jr. – Drums

Brian Stolz (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

Brian Stoltz (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

It had been three years since The Funky Meters last played together. When Brian Stoltz isn’t wowing the audience with his shredding guitar style with The Funky Meters, Ian Neville holds the guitar spot. Essentially, in the middle of all these Meters heads were PBS fans and EVERYONE was a George Porter Jr. fan! But, honestly, who doesn’t love George Porter Jr.?  Go check my facebook info under “religion”, you’ll find George Porter Jr.‘s name stands alone!

(Photo by Dino Perrucci)

(Photo by Dino Perrucci)

The Funky Meters (02.15.11)

Art “Poppa Funk” Neville – Keys
George Porter, Jr. – Bass
Brian Stoltz – Guitar
Russell Batiste, Jr. – Drums

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

I was lucky enough to have the wonderful New Orleans photographer Jeffrey Dupuis (Jeffrey Dupuis Photography) as a house guest for the three night run.  We arrived in Brooklyn just in time to grab something to eat some scrumptious $3.50 falafel sandwiches at Oasis, one of my favorite spots to hit before heading to The Brooklyn Bowl.

The turn out for a Tuesday night was exactly what we thought it would be. The venue was no where near sold out but the place was full of people who knew what was going to take place on stage that night. And what a great warm-up performance it was.

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

As they took the stage, each member had a blazing smile on their face and the audience was wild with applause. George Porter Jr. notices a couple in the audience wearing a “George Matters” tie-dyed tee shirt, the same shirt they had personally created and gifted to him many moons ago.  “I recognize that shirt,” he states as he starts the first jam, which was so unbelievably funky.

The following four songs were from The Meters catalog.  “The World” brought the funk full throttle as Brian Stoltz reminded me how much I had missed seeing him perform.  He is truly superb with his rock-driven funk guitar styling. “Fire on The Bayou” and “Change/Reform”  had the entire audience singing as they were the most recognizable Meters songs performed that night.  Porter growled deeply into the microphone as they pounded out a wonderful “Here Comes the Jungle Man” that book-ended a “They Don’t Know” tease.

The noticeable covers of the night were Lee Dorsey‘s “Get Out of My Life, Woman”, Professor Longhair‘s “Going to Mardi Gras” and Tom Waits‘s “Way Down in the Hole”. Porter and Russell Batiste, Jr. both pulled out solos that earned their own spot in the set list! Art showed his age but with a smile on his face, he played through with energy and had a few golden moments himself.

Best reason to do three nights: Rare Songs ~ NOLA Photographer Jeffrey Dupuis

In the end, we were given almost two hours of pure Funky Meters gold and we all walked out of The Brooklyn Bowl terribly excited and putting together our wish list for tomorrow night’s set list!

Set List – Night I
A Jam*
The World Is A Little Under The Weather >
Chicken Strut >
…Fire On The Bayou >
Cardova >
Get Out Of My Life Woman >
Here Come’s The Jungle Man >
They Don’t Know (tease) >
Here Come’s The Jungle Man >
Change/Reform >
Hang ‘Em High >
Africa >
Going To Mardi Gras >
Cabbage Alley >
Going To Mardi Gras >
Porter’s bass solo >
Way Down in The Hole >
Russel Drum Clinic>
Just Kissed My Baby
Porter’s bass solo >
Just Kissed My Baby >
It Ain’t No Use

* Art sings Billy Jean (Michael Jackson)

(Photo by Dino Perrucci)

(Photo by Dino Perrucci)

The Funky Meters (02.16.11)

Art “Poppa Funk” Neville – Keys
George Porter, Jr. – Bass
Brian Stoltz – Guitar
Russell Batiste, Jr. – Drums

Special Guests:
Nigel Hall– Vocals/Keys
Eric Krasno – Guitar
Adam Deitch – Drums

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

The second night had more of a turn out.  People had heard the buzz about the previous night and the venue was now 60-70% full.  My girlfriend, Ananda, was flying in from NOLA directly to the show.  As she flew towards us to the airport, my NYC crew and I hightailed it from Rockwood Music Hall after watching Nigel Hall Band perform on their quaint stage.  We all had our rage faces on as there would also be a third show we would be hitting after The Funky Meters.  As well, we had the knowledge of knowing that the Nigel Hall Band would be joining The Funky Meters on stage later that night. The excitement was never ending.

I had flown in straight from New Orleans, made my way through the crowd of smiling faces. Instant reunion with Jam Cruisers, NOLA to NY music lovers and friends old and new. It was my turn to come to their town. Love was everywhere, and the hugs and smiles were abundant, on stage and off. ~ NOLA Resident, Ananda Atmore

Porter was wearing yet another form of tie-dye shirt and Batiste was in another sports jersey, this time white.  The boys don’t stray too much from their signature styles.  Just like their first night, they started off with songs from The Meters catalog with favorites like “Here Come The Meter Man” and “Look-Ka Py Py.”

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

The covers of the evening were Roger Miller‘s “Chug-A-Lug,” Professor Longhair‘s “Tipitinas” and “Big Chief.”  The encore gave us “Higher” and “Sing A Simple Song,” both  Sly and The Family Stone covers while “Them Changes” was a Buddy Miles tune made popular by Jimi Hendrix and Band of Gypsies. “Peace Pipe” has me a bit confused. A friend suggested it might be a Mardi Gras Indian song.

“Love Slip Up on Ya” is a song specific to The Funky Meters catalog and Brian Stoltz once again blasted us with his masterful guitar. “Ride Me Dunky,” also a Funky Meters tune, saw Porter giving us his deep bass lines.

Stepping off stage for only a few moments, the fellas came on stage to perform “Be My Lady.”  However, as amazing as they were alone, The Funky Meters show blasted out of  control when the Nigel Hall Band took the stage for the remainder of the three-part encore.  Nigel grabbed the microphone, Adam Deitch sat in on drums and Eric Krasno played a second guitar for Sly Stone’s “Sing A Simple Song” and “Higher.”

I heard the first few notes of a familiar song, and thought “could it be?”. Are they really going to play it? YES! It was “Be my Lady”! This is an old Meters song that I haven’t heard performed in several years now, and a long time favorite of mine. This was my golden musical moment, and hearing them perform this song made the whole trip worth it in one moment. ~ NOLA Resident Ananda Atmore

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

The energy on stage was palpable. Watching Eric Krasno play across from Brian Stoltz was magnificent.  Two of my favorite guitarists having so much fun with each other on stage. Russell Batiste, Jr. banging on a cowbell, dancing all over the stage as he helped knock the energy up to another level. Art “Poppa Funk” Neville needed key changes shouted out a few times and then he left Nigel Hall to take over as he walked away for a breather and took the time to dance around to the music.

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

The Royal Family remained on the stage with the The Funky Meters to close out the show! And what a show this was.  The second night had been pure fire!! It was off to the third show of the night: DJ Nutritious‘s Bembe rage with Nigel Hall and Stephen Chopek.

Download Link To The Funky Meters @ The Brooklyn Bowl (02.16.11)

Set list – Night II
Here Comes The Meter Man >
Look-Ka Py Py >
Too Funky >
Bass intro Too >
Chug A Lug
Love Slip Up On Ya
Keep on Marching (Funky Soldier)
That Ain’t The Way to Carry On
Funkify Your Life
My Baby
Tipitina’
Hoo Chie Coo
Ride Me Dunky/Soul Island
Message From The Meters
People Say
Bass Intro too >
Big Chief>
Peace Pipe

Encore
Be My Lady
Sing A Simple Song*
Higher*
Them Changes*
Cissy Strut – tease*

*w/guest Nigel Hall, Eric Krasno & Adam Deitch

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

The Funky Meters (02.17.11)

Art “Poppa Funk” Neville – Keys
George Porter, Jr. – Bass
Brian Stoltz – Guitar
Russell Batiste, Jr. – Drums

Special Guests:
Eric Krasno – Guitar
?uestlove – Drums
Nikie Glaspie – Drums

(Photo by Alison Murphy)

(Photo by Allison Murphy)

Here we were, the third night of The Funky Meters.  The house was packed and this time, I was going to rage front row, right under George Porter, Jr.. I had taken myself from the front of the stage the previous nights to write on the elevated side of The Brooklyn Bowl because I knew I would dance away from my responsibility of writing if I was up front. Again, he is my religion after all.

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

As I walked around the venue throughout the show, I ran into musicians like Nikie Glaspie who was utilizing a bowling with her friends.  Henry Butler was standing amongst the crowd with a huge smile on his face.  Joe Russo and Eric Krasno were watching from backstage while the owner himself, Pete Shapiro, positioned himself atop a speaker right on the side stage sucking the entire thing in with a beaming persona.

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

It started off the same as the nights previous.  Batiste was wearing another green jersey, Porter was in yet another tie-die, Stoltz was in a button up with a few hipped out accessories. I forgot to mention his Kenny Rogers look he’s raging this tour.  He pulls it off nicely! The tapers were out in full force.  Sadly, even though I saw tapers each night, the third night was the only recording that could be found. Enjoy!

Download Link To The Funky Meters @ The Brooklyn Bowl (02.17.11)

The funky foursome brought the heat immediately after a funky, funky warm-up jam got the night started right.  Porter had his feet firmly planted into the ground as he put the bass in our face front row.

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

The night was full of amazing, jamming covers.  We got “Rainy Day Women” by Bob Dylan, “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton and “Love the One Your With” by Crosby, Stills and Nash.

(Photo by Alison Murphy)

(Photo by Allison Murphy)

There was a KILLER Rock-a-billy vibe during “Big Boss Man”, a Luther Dixon song made famous by Jimmy Reed.  They ran through “Simple Song” again, the Sly cover from the previous night.  The crowd was on fire, singing along to everything, filling in the lyrics when Art couldn’t remember them as they barely got through The Allman Brothers‘ “Midnight Rider” where Stoltz saved the day with a ripping guitar solo.

We had a few repeats with “Funkify Your Life”, “Hoochie Coo”, “Fiyo On The Bayo”, “Junko Partner” and “Cabbage Alley” among others. All audience favorites that we didn’t mind hearing over and over again.  “Aiko Aiko,” a James Crawford song made famous by the one and only Dr. John had the place erupting with dancing feet.


(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

The entire night was so high energy and the event was capping off such a full week of funky New Orleans Love, it was just outstanding. Towards the end of the night, Eric Krasno, Nikie Glaspie and ?uestlove joined the stage for a percussion driven rage. Batiste, Glaspie and ?uestlove took turns beating the drums, the cowbell and just about anything else they could find to hit within their reach.  Krasno was back on guitar facing off across Stoltz.

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

The encore saw Krasno leave the stage and then jump back on as they weren’t done with him yet. The wicked funky “Keep on Stretching Your Rubber Band” and “Audubon Zoo”, originally titled “All Asked For You” and changed by their manager, closed the three night run.

The 3rd night didn’t disappoint either. The set list speaks for itself really. They played again Sing a Simple Song, which had me on the front row jumping and smiling even more enthusiastically than before. And the encore of Keep on Stretching your rubber band. Pure Funky Meters magic. ~ NOLA Resident Ananda Atmore

The Funk Meter was off the charts this last night.  Even though watching The Funky Meters is similar to watching Furthur, in the respect that they aren’t spring chickens anymore, they brought the FIYO to the Brooklyn Bowl the past three nights.

(Photo by Alison Murphy)

(Photo by Allison Murphy)

I watched as all the men got up, gathered in the center of the stage and bowed before us.  Porter walked to the front of the stage and I got a smile and handshake from him as he continued down the line of people in the front row shaking hands and thanking the audience for coming. I might never wash this hand.

Alison Murphy caught Porter shaking my hand! (Photo by Alison Murphy)

Allison Murphy caught Porter shaking my hand! (Photo by Alison Murphy)

The final part of this musical adventure placed me upstairs in the backstage area, shaking hands, hugging and taking pictures with George Porter Jr.  It was a trio of nights that I will NEVER forget. I hope you enjoy(ed) the shows!!

Setlist: Night III
Jam >
Funky Miracle >
Funkify Your Life >
Rainy Day Women >
9 to 5
Hey Pocky Way >Cissy Strutt >
Love the one you’re with >
Hoochie Coo
He Bite Me (the Dragon) >
Voodoo Child* >
Fiyo on the Bayou >
Big Boss Man >
Aiko Aiko ^ >
Junko Partner >Midnight Rider >
Simple Song #  >
Cabbage Alley >
Baby What you want me to do >
Hey Pocky Way

Encore
(Keep on Stretching) your Rubber Band
Audubon Zoo (All asked for you)
* w/ Billy Jean (Michael Jackson) tease
^ w/ She’ll be coming round the mountain
# w/ Krasno, ?uestlove, Nikki Galaspie
(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

(Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis)

Me and my Religion :) GPJR!!  (Photo by Ananda)

Me and my religion 🙂 GPJR!! (Photo by Ananda)

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