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Posts Tagged ‘Musical Musings of a Tiny Rager’

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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Night 4 Recap with Karl Denson, Jennifer Hartswick and The London Souls :: Marco Benevento and Jennifer Hartswick Tonight!

The fourth night of Bowlive took place at the Brooklyn Bowl in Williamsburg last night to a sold-out crowd of dedicated Soulive fans. Drummer Alan Evans, guitarist Eric Krasno, and organist Neal Evans took it easy as guitarist Tash Neal, bassist Stu Mahan, and drummer Chris St. Hilaire opened the evening with a hard-rocking 30-min set. This was Stu’s second live performance with the London Souls and he couldn’t be a better fit. Tash is an aggressive guitarist and Chris’s powerhouse drumming makes you want to full on head bang. Perhaps you have heard their song “Steady As You Ready” off of Mob Wives, which they killed last night! Eric Krasno could be seen in the audience bopping his head to one of his favorite bands in our scene. The London Souls return to Bowlive on Saturday, March 10th.

When the endless lines outside the Brooklyn Bowl had finally been let in, Soulive took to the stage and played “El Ron” with such a fierce level of energy, shouting out musically that the weekend had begun! In that first song, Krasno was at the edge of the stage on his tiptops shredding his guitar into the faces of those in the front row. Keeping up the energy, “Dig” followed with teases of Snoop Dog and Lettuce mixed in.

The first tribute of the run was to the great Melvin Sparks. Soulive’s highly anticipated latest release, Spark, had only just shown up in Vinyl form that morning to the Brooklyn Bowl. Melvin Sparks was an American guitarist who passed last year. His soul jazz, hard bop and jazz blues influence can been seen in every one of today’s talented guitarists. Spark is a collaboration between the members of Soulive and Karl Denson. That pretty much is all that really needs to be said to convince you to check it out.

Flutist and saxophone player Karl Denson was special guest for his second night. He joined the stage for the song “Spark,” which had audience members fully engrossed. Karl added a gorgeous level with his flute while drummer Alan Evans, once the drummer for Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, and the rest of the stage passionately layered their sound atop one another. A lovingly delivered tribute to the end.

Trumpeter Jennifer Hartswick, the second special guest billed last night and the first female presence to grace the stage for the run, joined for another song of Spark titled “Povo,” another head banging rock song that at times turned psychedelic is an instrumental by Freddie Hubbard. Krasno and Hartswick bantered playfully with their instruments and Karl now back on his saxophone. When Jennifer took her solo, she slammed the audience so hard with her talent that afterwards, the place erupted! Female Power!! A beautifully executed “Nubian Woman” was the choice off their latest cd with a more psychedelic jazz flavor. The members on stage were feeling the Melvin Sparks vibe flowing through them freely.

When Jennifer Hartswick moved from horn row to the front stage, those in the audience who realized the treat they were in store for began screaming. Saxophonist James Casey (The Shady Horns) also joined the stage. The musicians teased Aretha Franklin’s “Rock Steady” as Jennifer hummed the tune to warm her voice and to tease us with her sultry sound before delivering  the goods. Her voice shook the rafters on the high notes and as the cool James Casey rocked the audience a killer solo, the shades on his head fell over his eyes in true rockstar fashion.

“Bowlive Staple,” as Krasno called him, Nigel Hall joined the stage now as the entire vibe was slowed down for a song that would, regardless of it’s slower speed, would trigger fond memories and raise the energy of the minds in the audiences. Tears for Fears cover “Everyone Wants to Rule the World” is a song that Soulive has perfected with their own style. Something every artist hopes to accomplish, especially when it’s a cover. Nigel Hall on vocals was heart melting as always while Alan and Krasno filled in the backup vocals. Towards the end of the tune, Nigel flowed seamlessly into “The Light” by Bobby Caldwell. An absolutely gorgeous, mellow, yet powerful mash-up to end the set.

Soulive opened up the second set with the fuly raging “One in Seven.”  Neal Evans, who has been on fire this entire run, continued his trend while brother Alan was then left on stage for a calculated isolated drum solo. After witnessing his drum solos each night, it is fun to enjoy the different tricks Alan pulls out of his bag to ensure that we get a taste of his various abilities. And then it was back to close out One in Seven.

Tash Neal (The London Souls) was the next guest invited out on stage to perform the famous Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young song “Ohio!” Unbelievable guitar rage between he and Krasno. The Evans brothers were crushing it as Karl Denson couldn’t miss this wonderful performance and ran out on stage grabbing a tambourine. Tash and Karl left as the trio, now alone on stage, executed a gorgeous rendition of Stevie Ray Vaughn’s “Lenny,” a beautiful love song Vaughan wrote for his wife and performed beautifully and emotionally by Krasno.

Karl Denson joined for the raging “Turn It Out,” where he delivered a beautiful flute solo. They continued on into “For Granted,” where he was joined by James Casey, Jennifer Hartswick, and Nigel Hall on keys with Neal. The playful song gave each artist a dedicated two minute solo to showcase their instruments. Starting with Krasno establishing the musical chorus, Karl followed, then Hartswick, and James Casey, who crushed it so hard Karl Denson began fanning Casey’s fire off with a towel giving him the props he rightfully deserved.  Nigel Hall solo followed with Neal filling in the blanks. Each solo established that these musicians had chops. That they were the best in their game and at that time, they were making sure we recognized that fact.

Neal Evans, now alone again on his rig, started off “Jesus Children” with a heavy, deep organ rage, before Hall started singing. It was here the set ended. The flavorful Wyllys, a DJ and Jennifer Hartswick’s husband, would be following the show so the high-energy of live music had to end. However, Wyllys has an extensive vinyl collection of some of the hottest tunes and with the help of Quincy Jones and other amazing samples, he got everyone back on the dance floor and fully engaged.


A killer beginning to what is going to be a jam-packed weekend of Delicious Soulive rage, the party continues tonight with Jennifer Hartswick and her band coming out for her second night with new special guest unique jazz improvisational keyboardist Marco Benevento. Seriously? The excitement of seeing Marco and Neal together is going to be worth the measly $15 it will l take to experience the musical magic!

 Karen E. Dugan
– Photo courtesy of Phrase

Youtube Videos:

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Soulive members, the rhythmic Evans brothers Neal and Alan and guitarist Eric Krasno transformed The Brooklyn Bowl from a guitar god’s wet dream to a world of funk and Beatle Mania on the third night of Bowlive III.

However, before the show could start, there were a few adventures I went on that I would like to share.  The most silly adventure was first. On Jam Cruise this year, a girl named Harmony held a pet adoption with stuffed animals (mostly sheep) of varying styles and sizes. What first occurred at The Catskill Chill Music Festival on a small scale last summer had now made it’s way to the Jam Cruise world on a large scale. As a result, musicians and their children, like New Orleans trombonist Big Sam (Big Sam’s Funky Nation) and Marco Benevento‘s daughter Ruby, adopted animals. Big Sam adopted a sheep and named her…what else? Harmony!

What's with the stuffed animals, you ask?

What’s with the stuffed animals, you ask?

Front row rage with Jessica, Laurie and LUCY!

Front row rage with Jessica, Laurie and LUCY!

Jam Cruisers and their animals were all over the Bowlive scene during the ten day residency but Big Sam is the only artists who engaged in the enjoyment of his adopted pet publicly. Before the show, I was with a friend who had brought her lamb, Lucy. We ran into Big Sam and asked about Harmony. He had her in a plastic bag in his hand. Right then and there, Harmony was brought out and Lucy and she “played” and “danced” a bit together before Big Sam took Harmony backstage! Over the run, Lucy (NY), Smiley-Face (MD), Harmony (NOLA), Fluffy (VA) and Jimmy (NJ) would make their way from various parts of America with their adoptive parents to enjoy Bowlive shows from the front row.  Big Sam’s Harmony, however, was the only one who engaged in the back stage rage and got to dance on stage. Enjoy the clip:


At the end of the day, this new vein within our scene is representative of the curiosity and connection that we all posses and/or seek. Just as The Karma Wash and Fan Club Headquarters are relevant, so is this fun idea. Amazingly, lots of people have mascots and the addition of this adoption program has spawned multiple mascot meetups and adoptive front row rages around our scene. Be sure to look for a stuffed sheep or mascot near you and share a dance 🙂

Neal Evans (Photo by Phrazz)

Neal Evans (Photo by Phrazz)

The previous two evenings, the trio infused their sounds with special guest southern slide guitarist Luther Dickinson and jazz great John Scofield. On this night, Karl Denson (Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe), Sam Williams (Big Sam’s Funky Nation), and Rahzel (The Roots) graced the stage with their flute and saxophone, trombone and beat boxing, respectively.

The organ-based jazz trio kicked off their set with “Steppin,” off their 2010 Live at the Blue Note Tokyo album and “Uncle Junior,” 2007 Get Down album. As the three core leaders of Bowlive, they immediately established that there would be no slowing down. By the middle of “Aladdin,” all three men on stage were fully invested.  Krasno was taking his solos at the edge of the stage, sometimes rising onto his toes, while Neal Evans dominated the song with his bass keys and organ play and Alan Evans slammed his drums with ferocity.

Karl Denson (Photo by Phrazz)

Karl Denson (Photo by Phrazz)

Karl Denson was announced as the audience was told that he “just got off a plane and walked on this stage.”  Karl Denson is one of the hardest working musicians in the business and his passion for his craft drips off every note he plays. He is a fast, funky band leader who is always consistent in his delivery.  “The Swamp” and “Rudy’s Way” followed with Denson choosing to add his flute to the beautifully composed songs.  The addition of Karl’s flute to the sound of our favorite trio added another dimension of emotion to the songs.  They continued with “Shaheed,” off their 2001 album Doin’ Something where Karl’s flute provided a softness to the hard-edged song. Krasno raged his guitar till the strings broke and had to change to a new guitar and Neal Evans kicked a drum solo into the audience’s guts.

Alan Evans, Karl Denson, Big Sam, and Eric Krasno (Photo by Phrazz)

Alan Evans, Karl Denson, Big Sam, Eric Krasno & Nigel Hall (Photo by Phrazz)

Joining the foursome on stage next was Nigel Hall (The Warren Haynes Band) and Sam Williams (Big Sam’s Funky Nation). There can be no doubt that the danceable and excitable energy that Big Sam brings is something you can’t find in many artists. The New Orleans native, formerly the trombonist for the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, danced out on stage with his horn, picked up a stage prop that he had brought (his stuffed sheep named Harmony) and began to dance all around the stage. Nigel and Big Sam began grooving it together and the entire audience couldn’t help but beam over the energy of it all.  These are serious performances but it’s ALWAYS appropriate to have a good time and with just his presence; Big Sam will lift any crowd. The powerhouse of funk on stage slowed the rage down for the soulful, “Leave Me Alone,” sung by Hall. Karl Denson changed to his saxophone and kicked us a lightning fast solo to end the set.

Rage (Photo by Phrazz)

Rage (Photo by Phrazz)

Rahzel Set Break Set (Photo by Phrazz)

Rahzel Set Break Set (Photo by Phrazz)

Straying from the formula of the first two nights, during this set break the audience would not be staring at an empty stage waiting for the first set to start. Instead, Beat Boxer Rahzel, the “Godfather of Noyze,” came out to keep them engaged.  Watching the audience react to this amazing addition to the night was almost as exciting as watching Rahzel. Specialize in the “fifth element of hip-hop,” Rahzel’s instrument is himself and a microphone.  He is a vocal percussionist who uses his breath, mouth and body to imitate sounds, instruments and voices.  He projected unmistakable beats from the Wu-Tang Clan and Run DMC. He became a DJ scratching records, created a buzzing insect around his head and brought Optimus Prime (Transforms) to life on stage with his robotic sounds. His signature song, “If Your Mother Only Knew” is always the highlight of a Rahzel performance. Rahzel simultaneously sings the lyrics and works the beats. It is quite difficult to even comprehend how Rahzel does what he does!  AMAZING!

Rubber Soulive Album

Rubber Soulive Album

Before Beatle Mania could kick off the first set, Soulive joined Rahzel on stage and performed “I Am the Magnificent” and it was just that, magnificent.  The entire first half of the second set consisting of songs chosen off Soulive’s latest album, Rubber Soulive.  “Come Together,” “Eleanor Rigby,” and I Want You (She’s So Heavy).” The audience sang along to the first song while the psychedelic lights and trippy sounds emanating off stage for “She’s So Heavy” was reinvented through the jazz trio.

Karl Denson, Big Sam, Nigel Hall and Lenesha Randolph (Photo by Phrazz)

Karl Denson, Big Sam, Nigel Hall and Lenesha Randolph (Photo by Phrazz)

Questlove (Photo by Phrazz)

Questlove (Photo by Phrazz)

Big Sam, Karl Denson, Nigel Hall and now, Lenesha Randolph (Robert Randolph and the Family Band) joined the stage for “Too Much.” Randolph and Hall sang the up-beat tune while Karl and Big Sam took their turn at the mic delivering some of the hardest, funkiest horn solos that Bowlive audiences will experience this run.  They kept up the pace with Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” and Questlove (The Roots) replacing Alan Evans, who picked up a guitar.

Full Stage Rage (Photo by Phrazz)

Full Stage Rage (Photo by Phrazz)

The entire crew of Soulive and their special guests kicked off the end of the set with “Tuesday Night Squad.”  Big Sam dominated a 3 minute long trombone rage, Alan was back on killin it on the drums, Nigel was on the Bongos before heading over to Neal where the pair did a little dance, if you will, shifting back and forth past each other to manipulate the various levels of keys that Neal’s kit provides.  Hall sang James Brown’s “Beweildered,” a deep, soulful song that required Nigel to reach the top of his range, and then he walked off stage.  It was back into “Tuesday Night Squad” to close the set.

Nigel and Neal Rage the Boards (Photo by Phrazz)

Nigel and Neal Rage the Boards (Photo by Phrazz)

There was never really an encore because every musician on stage was so into the music and feeling the audience’s energy that they chose to just play through and give their fans that extra five minutes of music that every audience desires.

Download Night 3 Sound Board Audio Here!

In three days Bowlive III had now brought us jazz, soul, psychedelic rock, New Orleans funk, hip-hop and southern-style blues in only three nights. The following evening, the party continued with Karl Denson sticking around for a second night and Jennifer Hartswick (Trey Anastasio Band) joining with her funky trumpet and soulful voice.

Pictures by Phrazz

Videos by: I can’t believe there are no videos for this entire night. If anyone finds some, send them my way

Words by The Tiny Rager

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Neal Evans (Photo by Phrazz)

Neal Evans (Photo by Phrazz)

The second night of BOWLIVE III at The Brooklyn Bowl started similarly to the previous evening with Soulive members Eric Krasno and brothers Neal Evans and Alan Evans taking the stage alone for the first two songs.  “Shaheed,” from band’s 2001 album Doin’ Something, and “DIG,” from their 2003 self-titled album started the set. With the members of Soulive choosing to open the sets themselves, they took on on the entire responsibility of pumping up their audience. They fully succeeded.  By the end of the second song, audience members were whispering that this night was even hotter than the last.

Eric Krasno (Picture by Phrazz)

Eric Krasno (Picture by Phrazz)

Luther Dickinson (Photo by Phrazz)

Luther Dickinson (Photo by Phrazz)

For those who couldn’t make this night due to responsibilities, I understand your pain. This evening would be one that would go down in Soulive history. For those of you who chose to come to the first and not the second, purely on issues related to laziness, I know you feel pissed enough. I won’t rub it in. Seeing how Luther Dickinson and John Scofield didn’t get on stage together with Krazno in the first night, one could logically assume that following day would see our hope delivered. All three guitarists on stage…at the same time!!

Luther and Krasno (Photo by Phrazz)

Luther and Krasno (Photo by Phrazz)

John Scofield, considered one of the “big three” of America’s current jazz guitarists, joined the stage for a second night with a pink guitar and giant smile.  “Nealization,” off their 2003 album Turn It Out, which Scofield performed on the album for this song, was next on the energized set-list. The energy level for a Wednesday night at the Brooklyn Bowl that was two-thirds full was stellar. The players on stage had picked up where they left off the night before and continued to elevate throughout the entire night.

Nigel Hall, the soulful vocalist and keyboardist from The Warren Haynes Band, was a much larger presence last night coming out on the Billy Cobham and George Duke tune, “Stratus.” Hall’s passion for the Fusion genre, especially George Duke, runs DEEP so you can only imagine how tight, invested and amazing he was performing the tune. Absolutely CRUSHING with Scofield distorting his rock-oriented sound! John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy” and Freddie Hubbard’s “Provo” followed.

With Nigel still on stage, delivering a fun Moog solo half way through, they performed the Scofield original, “Hottentot.” Alan Evans was clearly feeling this song as he threw in slight change ups in his beats that altered the style and sound in a great way, if only for a few seconds. His eyes closed and his lips pursed during the intense moments of connection to his instrument, Alan Evans was fully engaging and stood out as a leader on stage that night.

Luther Dickinson (Photo by Phrazz)

Luther Dickinson (Photo by Phrazz)

Ending the set with Nappy Brown’s 1957 cover made popular by Ray Charles, “The Night Time is the Right Time,” Soulive and guitar god history was made. Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars), John Scofield and Eric Krasno were all on the stage at the same time, for the first time. This was the moment that the die-hard fans were waiting for.  Nigel Hall sang the bluesy love song while the audience witnessed the three guitarists take their turns playing in their own unique and respective styles in a solo.

Luther Dickinson eventually left the stage as the song continued. Then, what I definitely considered one of the most interesting guitar banters of the musical run, took place. Scofield and Krasno played off each other’s rifts in one of the most unusual and gorgeous ways this super fan has ever witnessed. The Evans brothers lightened their presence, tapping a little lighter and recognizing the moment that was taking place. It was almost as if the two guitars were holding a conversation. The audience was silent when the song ended and then they erupted. THIS WAS WHY THESE MEN DO WHAT THEY DO! These rare moments of musical collaborations are what define Bowlive.

During set break audience members engaged in the Brooklyn Bowl’s amazing Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken, played a game of bowling and could be heard comparing the two evenings. Everyone was in agreement that this night kicked the previous night out of the water.

The second set started with Luther Dickinson joining the stage immediately for “Outrage” and stayed on stage for the entire set. “Bubble” and “All Night Long” were simply fantastic. There was no warming up this time, no taking it slow and simple. It was a full speed ahead.

Luther Dickinson and Eric Krasno (Photo by Phrazz)

Luther Dickinson and Eric Krasno (Photo by Phrazz)

Nigel Hall (Photo By Phrazz)

Nigel Hall (Photo By Phrazz)

Neal Evans was a force to be reckoned with during the second set with his heavy-handed organ play sounding excellent partnered with Dickinson’s slide guitar for “Shake Your Momma.”  Nigel Hall came out on stage once again to perform Muddy Water’s “Champagne and Reefer,” which had the audience laughing in agreement to the lyrics.

Alan Evans (Photo by Phrazz)

Alan Evans (Photo by Phrazz)

The encore was spectacular. Leaving the stage for only 120 seconds, Soulive and Luther Dickinson literally ran back on stage to perform “Spanish Castle” by Jimi Hendrix.  Their excitement was evident as Dickinson sang the verses and Alan Evans sang the chorus. No one wanted the show to end but the audience accepted the fact that these talented musicians needed their rest.

We had eight more days to go and Soulive’s passion and desire to strive would ensure that the coming nights continue bringing straight fire. Tommorrow’s rage would consume me with the FUNK as Karl Denson, Big Sam and Rahzel continue where Luther Dickinson and John Scofield left off.

Download Night 2 Sound Board Audio Here!

Pictures by Phrazz

Videos by Marc Millman and mkdevo

Words by The Tiny Rager

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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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Last Saturday, The Brooklyn Bowl played host to the 12th Annual Freaks Ball, a high-energy party hosted by the deeply-rooted, music-loving Yahoo! Group the NYC Freaks. With access to so much music, New Yorkers are privileged to see any act of their choice. In some cases, multiple times a year. However, it’s a show like The Freaks Ball that we wait for as music lovers in New York City.

A wonderful part of NYC’s underground musical culture, the NYC Freaks have been around as long as anyone can remember. After inquiring to a few members, many couldn’t recall when they were invited to join NYC’s hottest music list, but noted that they were happy members and the list was their main access to music knowledge and insight. This party would be for the Freaks. Seeing the collection of hugging friends as the city’s heaviest music-loving hitters entered the Brooklyn Bowl was inspirational. The pockets of positivity around me were wonderful. This wasn’t your typical gathering for a concert at Brooklyn Bowl. Freaks had taken over.

Over the years, this friendly, musical party has included musicians and projects that eventually went on to hit the national jam-band scene, including The Duo (Marco Benevento and Joe Russo), Robert Randolph, Apollo Sunshine, RANA, Bustle in Your Hedgerow, New Mastersounds and members of the extended Daptone family.

Opening the show was a quartet consisting of Eric Deutsch on keys, Joe Russo on drums, Scott Metzger (Wolf!) on guitar and Hagar Ben-Ari (Dap Kings) on bass. They played a tight set consisting of the Beatle’s “Day Tripper,” Grateful Dead’s “New Speedway Boogie,” a ‘Wolf!’ tune called “Get in The Van,” Erik Deutsch’s original “Funky Digits,” Neil Young’s “Don’t Let it Bring You Down” and an Ike Willis tune to close the set called “Funky Mule.” If one didn’t know any better, one might have thought that this was a polished group who rehearsed regularly. In reality, the set exposed four accomplished musicians with great talent coming together for a unique super jam that was solid, full of varying styles of music and fully preparing us for the main event that was about to hit the stage.

After a short intermission, we were delivered a Super Jam of E-P-I-C proportions with the Freaks Ball AllStars that included Warren Haynes (Allman Brothers), Eric Krasno (Soulive), Eddie Roberts (The New Mastersounds), Joe Russo (Furthur), Marco Benevento (Surprise Me Mr. Davis), Ron Johnson and Alecia Chakour (Warren Haynes Band).

The collection of musical talent on stage was staggering. Over the course of the night, each musician rotated on and off the stage providing for a rare night of music. Each guitarist was distinctly different in sound covering songs like Sly Stone’s “Sing a Simple Song,” Howard Tate’s “You Don’t Know Nothing About Love” and The Meter’s “Funky Miracle.” Bassist Ron Johnson held it down for the entire set with the biggest smile, killing it during “Windjammer.”

The Brooklyn Bowl audience stood in a pile of their own tears as the super group displayed their love for the magnificent Etta James, who died just days earlier. Alecia Chakour’s voice shook the rafter’s as she and Warren Haynes shared a duet on “Little Wings” while Eric Krasno’s guitar gently wept through “I’d Rather Go Blind.”

 

The lights this evening were above par, complimenting Marco Benevento’s unique sound as he performed his original “Mephisto” and the Benevento/Russo Duo’s “Scratchitti.” Everyone joined the stage to close with “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” A completely wonderful, ripping spectacle.

The Freaks Ball kicked off a trend of many more magical nights at the Brooklyn Bowl and raised the bar so high that it will be a long time before this night of music is topped. I look forward to running into more Freaks when that time comes.

www.brooklynbowl.com

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Front of a great shirt!

Front of a great shirt!

…….continued from Night  1 of Karl Denson @ The Brooklyn Bowl (04.23.10)

Before I knew it, my head had hit the pillow in my bed the night before and just like that, my feet were back to hitting the pavement to the Brooklyn Bowl.  The NY Funk Live group was gathering tonight to make sure the dance floor was packed and the energy was high.  Such a genuinely good group of people.  I encourage all funk friendly followers to look into the group and see if it’s for you.  A fellow funksters shirt caught my eye and made me giggle. I hope you get a kick out of it also.

Back of a great shirt!

Back of a great shirt!

It was the second night of Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe at the Brooklyn Bowl.  I was arriving a bit early to meet my buddy who was going to introduce me to just the best damn falafel I have ever eaten.  The place is called Oasis and it is right at the L train Bedford stop, first stop into Brooklyn from Manhattan.  Oh my goodness, it was just so good! Not oily, the extras: the red cabbage, the pickles, the hot sauce, were all so different yet all worked so well together.  SICK! And it was $3.50.  No lie, it is now what I plan on eating every time I head to the Brooklyn Bowl now. Yup! Yup! Light yet filling and $3.50…Word!

John Staten @ The Brooklyn Bowl

John Staten @ The Brooklyn Bowl

We arrived again before 9pm and there is only a slight line at the ID check this time. Once inside, it’s right to the front, makin’ my way to my regular spot to lay down my things.  A few buddies are already marking their territories at the front of the stage.  After chatting with them, I turn around to get my little notebook out and there is a NYC condom laying on my purse.  I look to the guys elevated above me in the bowling section and they just smile with their smirky grins and raise their glasses.  Seriously?  Looks like someone else was marking his territory.  I place the love token in my purse and turned around to the men in the joint that had some class…my friends 🙂

Karl Denson @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Karl Denson @ The Brooklyn Bowl

I was not on point for this show.  Because I was so focused during the first show, I felt like I wanted to just melt my face off and dance tonight.  This review won’t be nearly as long as Night I.  I seemed to focus more on taking pictures then notes.  Karl and his Universe took the stage around 9:45pm this time.  Hell of a lot earlier then the previous night of an hour later.  Right into a full out saxophone rage from Karl Denson.  I am not sure if they really played The Bridge or not.  I don’t recall that song being played but the set list says otherwise…  Either way, the first song was a HUGE rage fest and a great way to open.  EVERYONE was focused, attentive and dancing.  The stage was set up as follows, from left to right:

David Veith (keyboards)

Chris Littlefield (trumpet)

John Staten (drums)

Karl Denson (saxophone/flute)

Chris Stillwell (bass)

Brian Jordan (guitar)

Chris Littlefield & David Veith @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Chris Littlefield & David Veith @ The Brooklyn Bowl

The first song I recall is Kool Is Back.  I love this song.  The horn bring you right in with a catchy tune.  Karl picked up the tambourine and everything got really funky.  Brian gave us a guitar solo created off of his rift that is the background of the song.    The banging of the cowbell, John Staten just ripping apart the drums.  He was always inserting extra smack downs in the lulls of the other instruments which I appreciate.    This song reminded me of a 60’s game show for some reason.  Again, I think that if each of these artists had a band of their own, I would go see them all.  This song is so full of yummy jazz flute I can’t stand it.  FAST jazz flute.  Karl’s fingers were moving so fast and he was bouncing to the rhythm of his fingers.  My friend SCREAMS his monstrous scream in recognition of the slaughter that is taking place with the flute.  And Karl KILLS it.  Both horns are picked back up and they blast out the ending with Brian leading the way with the funky rift.

Brian Jordan @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Brian Jordan @ The Brooklyn Bowl

At this point, Karl’s horn insanity is taking down to a medium slow growl, a really jazzy sound emits and the song changes.  Galaxy!! “On a rocket ship /No time to wait /I just want to gravitate!” sings Karl.  They hit the lyrics pretty hard in this song, little play from the instruments.  At least for a little bit!  We got some interpretive jazz sax from Karl and people screamed.  The drums got louder and Karl got faster.  My friend tapped me on the shoulder to hand me some love.  We danced around.  I heard the tambourine.   As I look at my notes, I see where my friend wrote PEACE + LOVE = FUNK!!  I think he might be on to something. 🙂  So, there is a part in this song where they kind of let the slow, low, minimalist movement take over and not much happens.  He lost me.  I started thinking of a friends who weren’t there and and texted them pictures.  It was just a really jammy sloooow background for some chatting to commence for a few good measures.  But the nice part about these lulls, they pick up fast and just intensify and makes your head EXPLODE.  Yeah, Karl knew what he was doing.  And no pun intended but SPAAAACE!!!  I couldn’t figure out where some of the sounds were coming from, finally figuring out the horn sounds were coming from the keys? Shoot, I still may be wrong. I was loosing my mind waiting for the song to explode in my face.  My notes mention something about there being wasted time pickin’ and that is because I just wanted Brian to rip my face off with his fingers on the guitar.    He stands there with such a darling smile on his face and its like he is busting to blow out the guitar but he doesn’t.  Honestly, I can’t tell who I want to hear more. Who did I come to see?  They were all so great. “Outta Sight, Outta Sight” sings Karl twice.  Honestly, this Tiny Rager was in the middle of a Tiny Universe but I was entirely in my own world.

David Veith @ The Brooklyn Bowl

David Veith @ The Brooklyn Bowl

YES!!  YES!!!  YES!!  I heard the Reggae beat, the dance in my legs shifted immediately.  It moved up to my hips and the salsa vibe was pumping.  Might Rebel was serve up so nicely.  I longed for Debrissa McKinney’s voice immediately as she sings with them on their latest album, Brother’s Keeper.  This is easily one of my top five KDTU songs.  JUST LOVE THIS SONG! Gypsy rage!  Russ ask to borrow a lighter, confusing me because he doesn’t smoke, and holds it in the air swaying it back and forth. We giggle.  It was definitely a moment for that.  Karl looked directly at him, because you just cant miss this guy standing out with his red hair and giant stature holding a lit lighter, and with a beaming smile, nods in recognition of the act.  Russ adds some reggae beats with his mouth in the crowd and its hilarious.  It fits.  This is such a different song from the others being played that night.  It was so very Reggae and it was a nice change.  All the musicians soloed and just killed it.  Coming together at the end, it was just a pure hippie rage in depth.  Very heady and it was over just like that.

Karl Denson @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Karl Denson @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Shake It Out was next and it was the same as the night previously. I just set everything out and shook it out.  No notes, no recollection of anything fantastic happening.  Just dancing machine!  Hands in the air, spinning, knocking into my pal who was trying to contain himself but I could see in his eyes that he wanted to freaking flip out 🙂 Ah, reservation, I know you not.

And honestly, the set list said “Elephant” was next but it wasn’t. It made it’s way into the second set.  New York City was to rage the closer. And I mean RAGE!  It was a slow start at first and then it was a shit show of EXPLOSIVE funk all over that stage.  The ending of that set was one of the most intense endings of a set I have seen since Bowlive.  It was off the charts funky fantastic.  The energy was palpable, the place was packed.  And with that, they walked off the stage.  It was time to rage the bench and discuss…I was so high from all the goodness of that night that my vision was literally like a rippling pond at one point. Out of control. Damn, what a closer.

Set I: The Bridge, Kool Is Back, Galaxy, Mighty Rebel, Shake It Out, New York City

Karl Denson @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Karl Denson @ The Brooklyn Bowl

For the first time,we were not allowed outside of the front to walk around, smoke, get some fresh air .  We were confined to an area outside the front door, slightly herded. I am still wondering what that was all about.  After the insanity of amazingness that was Bowlive, these Karl Denson shows were definitely some of the the most amazing/fun shows I have seen at the Brooklyn Bowl to date.  Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe has a ridiculously ginormous amounts of soul.  It’s endless, full of funk, jazz, blues, and rage.  A GREAT team.

RAGE!

RAGE!

At this point, I just have my dancing shoes on and am not thinking of much else.  Steamed Water was awesome and I danced so very hard during that song.  David Veith really stood out on the keys during this set.  I had been hearing what I thought was a flute all weekend and it was his sound.  I don’t know if it was where I was standing.  But he always sounded like a flute.  I remember thinking that at that point I would just be happy to have the horns surrounding me on all side just blowing my head off.  I was so needy for them it was ridiculous.  I remember distinctly wanting crawl inside one of the horns and live in it.  Definitely out of control.

Chris Littlefield @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Trampled Underfoot, a Led Zepplin Cover, was “all about the love.”  Brian  worked his magic on the guitar once again. I just love his smile.  Chris Littlefield in tempo with the shaker as Karls on the mic, for like 7 measures, a lot of time on the cowbell.  I remember specifically texting that to a friend haha.  But again Karl ransacked the stage with his horn and the biggest cheer of the night came blasting out of the crowd.  I mean how do you not scream when guitars are jamming, horns are IN YOUR FACE NASTY, the drummer is basically on his feet, breaking his bloody sticks in half with each beat.  The crowd goes ape shit and Karl extends his arm in recognition of the cheer – the place erupts once again.  Back on the cowbell, Karl mentions his anniversary again. So special, it made my heart yearn.  “I cant stop talking about love,” says Karl.  How very special.  Another dance in unison between Chris Littlefield and Karl.

John Staten @ THe Brooklyn Bowl

John Staten @ The Brooklyn Bowl

And the shit just kept hitting the fan.  Karl blew me away in The Grunt. I know I am talking about him a lot but he was the main reason I went to the show.  How many time can I say he blew that horn, raged that horn, he was was awesome.  He brought a little jazz back into the otherwise funky song.  A few blats of improve was nice, a 3 minute jazz solo, real nice.   I remember there was chanting at one point, “NYC, NYC NYC!!!”  I completely spaced out for a while dancing around my little area, it had gotten a bit tight up front at this point, some odd photographers were bouncing around. I don’t know if they changed songs or were in the same one but we got a taste of Brian’s funky guitar and that cute smile.  Wearing a vest over a white shirt with jeans, he was lookin’ adorable that night.  Everyone looked sharp!  God, I love good music. “Make some noise in here,” shout’s Karl.  The venue screams in unison.  There were sooooo many people there compared to the night before.  It was shocking. Where had they all been Friday night?  I was very glad they were there. I wanted Karl and his Tiny Universe to know how much NYC loves them:)

Karl Denson and Chris Littlefield @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Karl Denson and Chris Littlefield @ The Brooklyn Bowl

An introduction to the next song, still unsure of the name.  Karl says, “Everything we do is for the ladies!  Am I right?”  Everyone screamed.  “You know it, they know it…..but just this once, we got a little something for the fellas.  This song is for the fellas.”  There is a little instrument banter and he continues, “Why are you scared?  You know there is always someone out there uglier then you so don’t be afraid, do it – go after it – you have nothing to fear but fear itself”  The song was beautiful.  For some reason, I have “Animal Kingdom” in my notes??  And that I wanted more flute. I was becoming oblivious. Perhaps the song was Groove On, I think it was, the set list says so but I still can’t recall.  See, this is why I have to write the set list down as the show progresses or I just forget everything.

Karl Denson & Jessica Lurie @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Karl Denson & Jessica Lurie @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Elephant was DEFINITELY next with Karl on the shaker and Chris Littlefield on the cowbell.  See, lots of time spent on these funny side instruments, but it was all part of the sound 🙂 What a great song. So heavy, so funky. The title evokes visions of elephants walking in a pack as soon as the tune begins.  Brian lays down the melody of the tune with his strings and Karl laces it out on the flute. Yes, a heady, herdy elephant song with flute!   There was major mouth action this time as he purposefully added in the sounds from his mouth as he blow the flute.  The sound emitted takes on an entirely different texture when the artists allow their mouth sounds to dominate the sounds of the instruments they are playing.  Some folks don’t care for it, but I do!!

Jessica Lurie @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Jessica Lurie @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Here we got our first and only guest treat for the evening. Out walks this lovely female, in a black vest, black tee, black jeans, and boots that looks liked they were broken in years ago, the “oh so comfortable” kind.  Jessica Lurie, a female saxophone player currently transplanted from Seattle to Brooklyn was the special guest for the evening.  I bet she played with Skerik all the time while in Seattle. I would love to see that duo.  SHE RAGED IT!!   I actually would have liked to have seen her perform more but he song didn’t allow for it as Karl was on his sax having to lead the herd through the song.    At one point both saxophone payers were not playing, but instead using the shakers and graters to back up Brian on the guitar.  I wanted more from Lurie. I was intrigued. She is definitely on my radar and I hope to see her again soon!  Karl belts a solo on the flute and Jessica is on various percussion instruments. She definitely didn’t just stand there, which was great.  At the end, they were all on the horns, everyone was jamming but not melting our faces. I was longing for that energy from the last song of the first set.  And then Brian’s guitar was crying as Karl interjected with hoots and yelps reminiscent of tribal banter, spiritual chanting if you will.  HE SCREAMS! And the energy rose, oh so high.  Russ screamed back, completely overcome with emotion from the song, he just couldn’t help it.  Karl stomped this herd into the ground with Lurie at the end. Brian brought the funk and it was just killer.  And then everyone exits the stage except for John Staten who has picked up the song, and taken it as his own…it was his time to shine! Enjoy the video! I personally like Karl’s little jig at the end of the clip!  RAGE JOHN RAGE!

Might Mouse was slated on the set list but they choose to rage another.  At this point a fan had come up to Karl and shouted something, He said, “OK! SO then we will play that song next for you, Happy Birthday!”  So kind, so genuine Such a good man, on top of being a good musician.    Soul Drifting would be the song of choice and it was full of just more funk and fun. David Veith mouthing the “sounds” he was making on the keys.  I was so focused on the horns and the guitars that I lost track of the keys and for that I apologize.  The keys were light, shifty, breezy.  Everyone was smiling. Karl places the mouth piece on his sax again and it creates the low growl.  “I feel like talking tonight.” says Karl.  He doesn’t talk so much as he gives us such a pretty jazzy flute, like a humming birds wings, his fingers were flying.  I closed my eyes as the song willed me to.  It was such a slow jam at first and then he screamed so soulfully, so fast.  Brian picked up his pace and just let loose on the strings, Karl picks up percussion instruments, I danced so hard I fell over.  Yup!  Just fell over…I was out of my mind, as were the people surrounding me; the people up front, paying attention to the slaughter that was taking place.  “Thank you New York!  Thank You New York,” screams Karl to the beat of the song.  And that feeling of dread that floods over you when you know a show is ending immediately flooded in.  Had two nights of Karl Denson really just come and gone just like that?  Perhaps for many, if not most people, they can just go home having enjoyed the night, being able to move forward and immediately think of things on their to do lists the following day….moving forward.  Not me, I get stuck in the moments and I truly dislike being pulled out of them.  I truly is an addiction.  It makes me tankful for these opportunities to write for yall, and for myself, to relive the memories and have a record of them.  It allows me to release and move forward like the “regular” folks 🙂

Karl Denson and Jessica Lurie @ The Broooklyn Bowl

Karl Denson and Jessica Lurie @ The Broooklyn Bowl

The stage was empty, no one moved, and everyone was screaming at the top of their lungs.  Of course, we all wanted more.  Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe to the the stage of the Brooklyn Bowl one more time that weekend and gave us a hell of an encore: Bougainvillea! Of and older CD, The D Stands for Diesel, Karl says, I got an old skool song for ya.”  The flute goes right into it, light, jammy guitar, interesting sounds with the keys. I was really too busy dancing to worry about much else.  Then the flute is put down and replaced by the saxophone.  Jessica Lurie came out and joined the session.  “I’ll sing you a song all night long,” shout’s Karl.  And the horns ended the evening blasting into the night and off the stage.  You know how I said this wouldn’t be a long review? I lied 🙂  It was too good to summarize.  And  when this review completed….it’s off to the next adventure 🙂 because I have just released!!! 🙂

Set II: Steamed Water, Trampled Under Foot (Led Zeppelin Cover), The Grunt, Groove On, Elephants, Soul Drifting, Bougainvillea

Download: Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe Live at Brooklyn Bowl (04.23.10)

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