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Bowlive IV Recap Including Day & Night 8 Reviews

We’ve officially been “Bowlived” for the fourth year as Soulive reached the finish line of their 4th Annual residency, Bowlive, on Saturday night. It’s a bittersweet feeling; similar to the feelings you get when you have to leave an amazing few weeks at summer camp. For the members of Soulive, seeing the regular faces and New York City fan dedication is a wonderful energy for them to play off of throughout the run. In turn, fans get to see their favorite artists night after night, performing exquisitely executed originals and crushing covers with spectacular guests. All the while, both fans and band dance around with each other, their friends, and other musicians in the audience who are there just to bare witness. Everyone smiles and engages each other, soaking up every glorious note. It’s a symbiotic relationship that is hard to fall away from after being dipped so deeply for eight nights. So, when the end comes, we must remind ourselves that these residencies are special because they only happen once a year! Soulive reminds themselves that they have something special to look forward to as much as the audience does. And each year, the audience witnesses the unfolding of a beautiful musical dynasty that Eric Krasno and brothers Neal and Alan Evans have created.

 Unlike the three previous year’s run, Soulive chose to focus their energy into eight shows instead of ten. This choice applies great pressure to any band who chooses to change the formula of a well-established and respected event. Bowlive fans expect a certain caliber of guests, a high level of surprise sit-ins, and some spectacular musical experiences that sometimes end up being a once-in-a-lifetime moment.  Soulive knows this to be true and always takes the time to consider such factors. How about having Mod dancers bust out into the bowling lanes during the second set of Night I?! It was just go time at that point!

Over the course of eight nights, guitarist Eric Krasno, bass keyboardist Neal Evans and drummer Alan Evans provided a stage and support for fantastic and exciting artists. They played endless jams in multiple styles across the musical spectrum, which is an important goal of the residency every year. Special guests included rocking Southern Blues brothers, guitarist Luther Dickinson and his brother, drummer Cody Dickinson, the 1970’s soul vocalist, Lee Fields and his modern day counterpart, Nigel Hall. There was the unmatched pedal steel slide guitarist Robert Randolph, legendary jam scene DJ, DJ Logic, and The Shady Horns lent their wall of sound during the second week with the help of crushing saxophonist Bill Evans one night. Some of America’s most outstanding keyboardists, 1970’s Memphis blues keyboardist, Booker T. Jones, mad scientist and keyboard wizard, John Medeski, and the ever experimental Marco Benevento, dominated their time on stage. Stepping in to melt faces on guitar was the astonishing Los Lobos’s David Hildago and The Meter’s Leo Nocentell. Soulive closed out their epic week playing with America’s most famous funk bassist, George Porter. Jr.

Another exciting element of Bowlive each year is the choice opening bands Soulive picks to set the audience’s mood each night. Due to a benefit at the Brooklyn Bowl on Night Six, there were only seven opening groups, all delivering a variety of musical power. The ridiculous ragers who make up Kung-Fu opened the run with so much fury. It was a perfect choice. The rocking Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, The London Souls and Leroy Justice got the dance floor grooving. It was also a great pleasure to see two powerful females amongst the male-dominated residency by way of Alecia Chakour (The Alecia Chakour Band) and Arleigh Kincheloe (Sister Sparrow). The soul and flavor of love got shot to our hearts with The Nigel Hall Band, the Alecia Chakour Band and Cocheme Gastulum’s The Electric Sound of Johnny Arrow. You’re encouraged to read about them all in the previous night’s posts.

Then, you have the unannounced guests who are a separate list of continual, crushing talent. The Allman Brother’s southern rock guitarist Warren Haynes and slide guitarist Derek Trucks surprised the audience with a secret full third set on Night Two. Trombonists Sanders Sermon (Tedeschi/Trucks Band) and Natalie Cressman (Trey Anastatio Band) and trumpeters Maurice Brown and Igmar Thomas, and saxophonist Cocheme Gastulum (Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings), enhanced the wall of horns over the run on various nights. Behind everything, the chemistry and talents of Eric Krasno, Neal Evans and Alan Evans, are what make Bowlive possible.

Perhaps the most special show for many Soulive fans is the Kids show. Soulive held another KidsBowl performance early Saturday afternoon from 2pm to 3pm. These specific types of shows bring Soulive’s music to both the fans children and the unknowing adults who bring their kids to bowl on a Saturday, not knowing what a treat they are in for.  For dedicated Bowlive fans, the kids show is a wonderful way for the individual dancing alone at night to bring his or her family to meet one another.  The reality of life becomes evident as the adults were in “parent” mode, not “party” mode. Babies were crawling on the dance floor and children of all ages were running around in bowling shoes. The lights were on and bumpers were out. In their hour, they performed a few Soulive originals and brought Meter’s bassist, George Porter, Jr. It was when the set was over that the real raging began, however, when the children were allowed on stage to play with instruments and dance.

KidsBowl Set:

Uncle Jr.

Vapor

Hat  Trick

Turn It Out

Hey Pockey Way (w/ George Porter, Jr.)

How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)

 It was back to party time with the evening show and The Alecia Chakour Band opening. Her blues siren vocals backed by Neal Evans on keys, bassist Alex Chakour, drummer Caito Sanchez, saxophonist Cocheme Gastulum, and trombonist Dave “Smoota” Smith, were perfection.  After a lovely instrumental intro, Chakour sang seven band originals, including “Runaway,” “Over Again,” “You Didn’t Tell Me,” and “The Sun.” Each member of her band taking solos and leads amongst her sweet sounding vocals. This was a fantastic group of soulful musicians and a perfect choice to transition into the funk-filled evening.

Opening Set:

1. Instrumental

2. Runaway

3. Over Again

4. You Didn’t Tell Me

5. The Sun

6.Ghost

7. Shirley

8. Everything Time I See You (Stevie Wonder Cover)

The important point of all of this, simply, was the music. Music that creates a passion within Soulive and luckily, that passion is extended to the fans. For the final evening of their amazing residency Soulive would play host to their mentor in funk, Meter’s bassist, George Porter Jr. But not before bringing it home for the Soulive purists, proving once again what a sick power trio they truly are.  The first set was pure fire, and with help from the Shady Horns, there was nothing to divert our thoughts from what was most important.  The set was full of sick Soulive originals, “Uncle Jr.,” “Aladdin,” and “One in Seven.” “Lenny,” a Stevie Ray Vaughn cover and highlight of any set, allows Krasno to open up a can of whoop ass upon your ears. He broke his string during his ripping solo. Enough said. The London Souls’ Tash O’Neal (guitar and vocals) and Chris St. Hilaire (drums) joined for the a “cover” of their own “Steady Are You Ready” then stayed on to help deliver a crushing version of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Killin’ Floor” in the vein of Electric Flag’s version. Remember, as we learned on Night Four, Krasno is a huge Tash O’Neal fan, so you can imagine the chemistry.

Set I:

Uncle Jr. (w/ Shady Horns)

Aladdin (w/ Shady Horns)

Come Together (Beatles cover)

Lenny (Stevie Ray Vaughn cover)

One In Seven

Steady Are you Ready (London Souls cover w/ Tash O’Neal & Chris St. Hilaire)

Killin Floor (Howlin’ Wolf Cover…Electric Flag Version w/ w/ Tash O’Neal & Chris St. Hilaire)

 Soulive performed a beautiful rendition of “El Ron,” before George Porter, Jr. was introduced for Set II, continuing on as one of Bowlive’s greatest musical mainstays.  During this tune, the Shady Horns, with the help of guest saxophonist Cocheme Gastulum, broke off into an extended improvisational blowing session with Alan supporting on drums. For lack of better words, it could best be described as a drum line for horns. A Hornline, if you will?! The entire second set evolved into of slew of classics from The Meter’s catalog.

“People Say,” kicked off a funk-fueled set with James Casey delivering a rousing solo. Casey has carried a saxophone around his next all week and when he plays, it’s clear that he was meant to blow a horn.  However, it must be mentioned that over the run, Casey provided grooving percussion on the congas for many songs. It was a dance party for “Hey Pockey Way,” as Porter announced that, “Everyday should be Mardi Gras!!!”  Then, audience participation time for the fun tune, “Hand Clapping Song.”  The next Meter’s original, “Out in the Country,” was performed in the style of Porter’s slow emotional arrangement from his It’s Life album. This was a gorgeously played ballad that tugged at the heartstrings of the crowd in a deep way. From a personal perspective, it brought tears to my eyes, almost opening the floodgates until I reeled it back in.  I wasn’t alone in this outpour of emotions. Again, acknowledging that this super-stimulating, night time version of summer camp, full of friendly faces, is like ending an addiction cold-turkey. Bowlive is an institution in the Jam Band universe at this point, it lasts longer than many music festivals, and it’s not easy for the die-hards when it ends.

The set ended and no one moved.  There was just endless screaming and shouting of Krasno and the Evans brother’s names. Then, Brooklyn Bowl owner, Peter Shapiro, stepped onto the stage. On the last night of every Bowlive, right before the final encore of the run, Peter Sharpio does something special for Bowlive’s loyal audience in an effort to show his gratitude for their support of live music.  At the end of the first Bowlive, 700 shots of tequila were handed out from the stage.  He kept it entirely mellow last year by passing around Aromatherapy plants: Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, asking that the audience to grab sprigs of each plant and inhale. This was to encourage a revitalization within our body, mind and soul for the energy to dance on for one more song. Not missing a creative beat, Peter Shapiro took the mic on this final night and thanked us for our loyalty in proper rockstar fashion. He alerted the audience that this was a milestone 40th show for Bowlive and that the he had had made t-shirts with “40” on the back and “BOWLIVE” on the front. XL shirts went flying around the venue and Shapiro asked that the audience put them on right away before Soulive would deliver us our double encore of “He Bite Me (The Dragon)” and “Ain’t No Use.” The gifting of the shirts was a smart and fun way to end this year’s Bowlive.

Set II:

El Ron (w/ Shady Horns and Cocheme Gastulum)

People Say

Take A Chance

Hey Pockey Way

Jezebel

Hand Clapping Song

Out In the Country

Encore:

He Bite Me (The Dragon)

Ain’t No Use

Soulive has truly cemented their reign as a musical dynasty. A talented trio on top of their game in this unforgiving musical bastion of NYC. The magnitude of music overheard during the last two weeks was dynamic and inspiring.  The guests and the musicians solos were magnificent, diverse and captivating. Soulive always gives us something to look forward to every single night of Bowlive and this year was nothing less.

On personal note, I hope these reviews have helped supplement the wealth of musical knowledge that Soulive bequeathed upon us during Bowlive IV.  It is a delight and a  privilege to witness Bowlive every year and count Soulive and the Brooklyn Bowl as part of my local music scene. It also goes without saying that it is an honor and a true highlight of my career to be blessed to write for this amazing phenomenon called Bowlive. Thank you to Peter Shapiro, the Brooklyn Bowl, all the staff and production crew. Thank you to Royal Family Records for the opportunity to cover such a delightful event. A giant thank you to all the guests who lent their sound to the stage. Finally, the biggest congratulations and thank you to Alan Evans, Neal Evans and Eric Krasno for making it all possible. Your fans eagerly await to see what you have in store for Bowlive V!

Karen Dugan

tinyrager.com

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Bowlive IV Night 4 Recap w/ Booker T, David Hidalgo & The Shady Horns | Tonight Hidalgo Returns, Marco & The Shady Horns

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Dedicated music lovers brought themselves out to the Brooklyn Bowl for the start of Soulive’s second week of the Bowlive IV residency. Guitarist Eric Krasno, bass keyboardist Neal Evans and drummer Alan Evans are back with a new week and new musical adventures.

_DSC4418Last week’s roster was packed with sit-ins by southern blues rock guitarist Luther and percussionist Cody Dickinson (The North Mississippi Allstars), the fierce harmonica playing of John Popper (The Blues Travelers), the 70’s flare of vocalist Lee Fields and his Expression Horns, the pedal steel slide guitar styling of Robert Randolph (Robert Randolph and the Family Band), the soul-filled flavor of vocalist Nigel Hall and the spinning talents of DJ Logic. Surprise guests included the amazing Allman Brothers Band guitarists Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks and trombonist Sanders Sermon (Tedeschi/Trucks Band).

One of the highlights of Bowlive this year has been the killer opening bands kicking off every night. Kung Fu absolutely blew the roof off the first night, setting a pace of rage for the rest of the week. The second night followed with the powerful 8-piece Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds who kept the energy high and the Alecia Chakour Band delivered their sultry sounds on Saturday. You can read about those shows in earlier posts here on TinyRager.com.

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Following one of the best first weeks in Bowlive history, the formula would to remain the same. The high powered, high energy, talented horn-crunching musicianship of saxophonist Cochemea Gastulem (Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings) and his band, The Electric Sounds of Johnny Arrow, showcased a different style of music to Soulive fans. The sounds of Africa’s Fela Kuti and 70’s baritone player Lekan Animashanu provided influence to the tunes. One’s hips couldn’t help but begin to grind to the pulsating percussion infused music. After the opening set, there were members of the audience who could be overheard discussing these new sounds that Soulive had introduced to their Bowlive roster.

Set List:

Dark City
Carlito
Impala 73
You’re So Good To Me
Heleyos
Lluva Con Nieve
Fathom 5
No Goodbyes

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The theme for the rest of the night was simple. Play one strong, satisfying Tribute to Stax Records with one of the coolest, hippest, electric blues keyboardist of all time, Booker T. Jones (Booker T. and the MG’s.) However, the audience had to be patient. Soulive purists still needed to see their favorite trio stand alone. Alan, Neal and Eric performed “Outrage” and “Dig” before the Shady Horns joined the stage. Baritone saxophonist Ryan Zoidis and trumpeter Eric Bloom (Lettuce) and James Casey (Trey Anastasio Band) brought another layer of funk to the vibe with “Hatrick” and even more horns joined when Cochemea’s baritone saxophonist Freddy Deboe and Lee Fields band’s saxophonist Mike Buckley sat in on “For Granted.”  Their powerful horn solos overwhelmed the speakers causing feedback that took a minute to control and it was back into full funky rage.

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When Booker T. Jones came on stage, the crowd went wild. To experience an entire set with Booker T. and Soulive was liberating. However, to see how excited Soulive was, well, that was just icing on the cake of what was a delicious remaining night of music. Krasno put it best as he spoke to the audience, explaining that as much fun as it is for the fans, it’s equally as fun for Soulive, as they are fans themselves. Fans that have the distinct pleasure and honor of inviting their mentors and influences on stage to join them. The passion for Booker T. was also evident as you looked around the audience and saw other famous Jam-world faces such as Erik Kalb (Deep Banana Blackout), David Bailis (Pimps of Joytime), and Alecia Chakour (Alecia Chakour Band).

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Booker T. and Soulive crushed out iconic Booker T. and the MGs hits “Hip Hug Her,” “Hang ‘Em High,” “Time is Tight,” and more. They then played “Born Under A Bad Sign,” which Albert King made famous but was written by Booker who along with the MG’s and The Memphis horns appear on that studio version. There was the catchy instrumental versions of Cee Lo Green’s “Crazy,” and Lauryn Hill’s “Everything is Everything,” with each instrument on stage taking the lead on each song.  It was sharp, stunning and solid. The Booker T’s Memphis Soul Sound was supported wonderfully by Soulive, all three of whom were grinning from ear to ear throughout the entire set. Finally, it wouldn’t be Bowlive without a surprise special guest. Guitarist David Hidalgo (Los Lobos), in town a night early for his Wednesday night Bowlive appearance, would pop out halfway in the middle of tunes then disappear again. This would continue through the set, teasing us with what would be seen on night five.

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The Booker T. encore was the most recognizable tune of all, the instrumental classic, “Green Onions,” with its ripping Hammond Organ line were both Neal and Booker T. enjoyed trading licks on their keys. That song threw everyone, of all ages, back into the soundtrack of 1993’s The Sandlot, back riding around in their 1962 Chevy Impala Convertible with the top down. It is a song that defined the ages and every one of all ages was invested.

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Capping off the night, the trio stood alone on stage for “Tuesday Night Squad,” a nod to the night and perhaps Soulive’s way of naming the dedicated tribe who supported them on such an early weeknight.  The Tuesday Night Squad we became and Bowlive fanatics should hold that badge with honor, the same way Soulive was visibly honored to perform for us last night with such an amazing icon of music.

Last night’s tribute to Stax Records was a pleasure.  Tonight get there on time for another stunner of an opener with the ever-rocking London Souls and guests Marco Benevento (keys) and guitarist David Hidalgo (Los Lobos).

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Set List:
Hip Hug Her
Hang ‘Em High
Born Under A Bad Sign
Crazy
Time is Tight
Something
Everything is A Everything

Encore:
Green Onions
Tuesday Night Squad

Written by Karen Dugan
Tinyrager.com

Photos By Andrew Blackstein & Allison Murphy

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Bowlive IV #2 Recap w/ Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, Lee Fields, Robert Randolph & More : Nigel Hall & DJ Logic Tonight

IMG_3535For those super-fans, like myself, who have never missed a Bowlive show, (that’d be 31 shows, counting last night), the epic musicianship of Eric Krasno (guitar) and brothers Neal Evans (Hammond B3 organ, bass keys, clavinet) and Alan Evans (drums) is what drives us to come each night. However, it’s the un-announced musicians that also fuel a real fire in our motivation. The surprise third set that gets announced at the start of the night begins driving the rumor mill and the audience wonders how our favorite jazz trio is going to deliver us their musical spread for the evening. Let’s be honest! If Soulive/Bowlive fans keep it real about one thing they have learned over the last three years, it’s that Soulive will always keep us guessing and they never fail to deliver. The second night of Bowlive IV was no different.

The eight-piece powerhouse, Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, kept the energy going from the first night, opening to another packed house. The sexy, sultry voice of Arleigh Kincheloe led the group, consisting of brothers Jackson Kincheloe (harmonica) and Bram Kincheloe (drums), Sasha Brown (guitar), Josh Myers (bass), Phil Rodriguez (trumpet), Ryan Snow (trombone) and Brian Graham (baritone sax). They rocked through their originals tunes, “Freight Train,” “Too Much,” and “Dirt.” However, they brought down the house when they covered AC/DC’s “Back in Black.”

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IMG_3662 copySoulive blasted out of the gate with “El Ron,” showcasing the magnificent drumming skills of Alan Evans. After Alan removed his jacket and introduced the band, the trio took their time grinding into the melodic “DIG.” The first half of the first set contained jamming, old skool originals like “Uncle Junior” and “Azucar” before vocalist Lee Fields and the Expressions horns joined the stage. It was then that the audience was transported back to the 70’s, with the Brooklyn-based singer, wearing a killer silver suit, knocked the audience down with his powerful vocals.  Performing his famous “We Fought for Survival,” recorded in 1970, and “You’re My Weakness,” Lee Fields danced and grooved around on stage and into the audience’s hearts with his James Brown-style. The crowd was electrified.

IMG_3468 copySet II began with the jazz-funk trio performing “Aladdin” with Neal Evans standing out significantly on the bass keys. They brought the energy level right back to where they left off at the end of the first set when pedal steel slide guitarist Robert Randolph (Robert Randolph and the Family Band) walked out wearing a silver sequins mask. With Alan Evans on vocals, they crushed Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady.” Randolph sang his radio friendly tune, “It Don’t Matter,” breaking the first of three chairs that he would eventually bend due to his climbing and jumping upon them. Lee Fields joined the stage for a rousing improvisational jam entitled “C# Funk Blues.” Then, Randolph and the trio took a risk, slowing the pace down for the beautiful “She Feels So Good.” At first, the crowd was lost in conversation but Randolph and the guys quickly reeled them back. Randolph was on his knees while playing The Temptations’ “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” and The Expressions’ saxophonist, Leon Michaels, delivered a long and majestic saxaphone solo to top it off. The set list called for Jimi Hendrix’s “Crosstown Traffic” to end the set. However, Randolph wasn’t done with the stage. Randolph drove past “Crosstown Traffic” into a five minute nameless jam to solidify his reign for this year’s Bowlive run.

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After Robert Randolph’s set, the venue emptied out a bit and many who remained had no idea that they were about to be rewarded with an amazing third set. Every year as the Brooklyn Bowl gets down to the Funky sounds of Soulive, there is always another residency raging in New York City at the Beacon Theater.  That would be the the Allman Brothers Band residency.  Many fans of both bands split their time between the two residencies during their annual extended March runs. There are also many who leave the Beacon and make a beeline to Brooklyn hoping to catch the end of the later running Bowlive performance.  And on a few evenings, they hope to see members of the Allman Brothers Band sit in with Soulive.  Earlier in the week, Eric Krasno was a guest of the Allman Brothers at the Beacon Theater.  But tonight, it would be Kraz’s turn to play musical host to two of the Jam universe’s biggest heroes, Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes.

IMG_3828 copyLong before the surprise guests took the stage, the buzz had flown around the Brooklyn Bowl that the possibility of a Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes appearance was eminent. Everyone waited in anticipation of the third set, which would surely bring together an epic combination of guitarists.  Krasno and the Evans brothers went right into a fast paced version of “One in 7.”  Kraz played a great solo, perhaps anticipating the push he would feel from the two greats appearing later in the song. Finally, we were delivered our present as Derek Trucks came out during the raging “One in 7” and within 120 seconds, he and Krasno were standing next to one another, trading off screeching leads and bringing the crowd into a state of blissful guitar heaven. The audience was going ballistic and became a sea of cameras and arms.

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IMG_4051 copyWarren Haynes came out as the band got ready to play their next song.  He stepped right up to the microphone for vocals on “The Thrill is Gone,” backed by Derek and Kraz joining in for a super jam near the end.  The rest of the set had the crowd mesmerized as three guitar legends traded licks. However, there was still one more guitarist who had to re-join the party before it was all over, Robert Randolph.  Robert came out and sat at his pedal steel as the band ripped into a mind-blowing version of Jimi Hendrix’s “Them Changes.”

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Seeing those four finger picking maestros on stage together will be a once-in-a-lifetime moment for many fans in the audience. Those are the moments that scream at the music-lover in all of us. Warning, or rather,TELLING us not to miss the next show. Another amazing Bowlive memory for the books. We should be thankful that, for now, it’s a never ending series!

Tonight, Soulive will host Nigel Hall, who opened all ten nights of Bowlive I and is a staple in the Royal Family projects. As well, be prepared to be awed by the powerful vocals of Alecia Chakour Band and the DJing talents of DJ Logic.

Written by Karen Dugan

Pictures by Allison Murphy

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Soulive is back and full of energy for their fourth annual BOWLIVE Residency held at the ever-popular Brooklyn Bowl.  Bowlive is an exciting time for the New York City music community, which was made clear last night as Soulive performed to a sold-out crowd. A crowd who showed up to RAGE with Eric Krasno (guitar), Neal Evans (drums), and Alan Evans (Hammond B3 organ, bass keys, clavinet) while a blizzard whipped around outside.

A few things have changed this year. There are eight nights instead of ten, there are more guests than ever and you should expect surprises every night. However, one constant that never falters is Soulive’s devotion to diversity. Their mission is clear. Showcase multiple genres of music by hosting amazing guests backed by the trio’s own diverse talents.

44439_10151538968272755_2083839976_nWith the most powerful kick-off in the last four years, the rocking Jazz Funk Fusion of KUNG FU opened the run at 8:30 on the dot. KUNG FU is made up of keyboardist Todd Stoops (RAQ), bassist Chris DeAngelis (The Breakfast), saxophonist Rob Somerville (DBB), guitarist Tim Palmieri and drummer Adrian Tramontano (The Breakfast). They powered through their set-list with crushing intensity and warmed up the crowd with favorites “Do the Right Thing,” “Popcorn,” and “Scrabb.”

Then came the moment the crowd had been waiting for since the rosemary-scented close of Bowlive III. The power trio began their set with the electric “Outrage,” as the crowd leapt off the floor, fists punching the air. The raging Soulive classic “Hat Trick,” a psychedelic “Shaheed,” and rocking “Tuesday” followed, with the venue filling with Soulive’s tight and full sound.

Blues harmonica player John Popper (Blues Traveler) was the first guest to grace the stage with Soulive.  Choosing the classic Beatles tune “Come Together,” fans were delighted to watch the traditionally instrumental song be sung by Popper himself!  The Blue Traveler’s tune “Mulling It Over” closed the set with high intensity and passionate fans screaming their praises.

The trio that never ceases to amaze wasted no time with long set breaks.  Only a few minutes went by before the boys were back on stage, this time with slide guitarist Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars) demanding the audience to “Shake What Your Momma Gave Ya.” While our attention generally would have been on the musicians, the crowd’s attention was pulled to the bowling lanes where four dancers in mod outfits shook their own asses up and down the aisles for the surprised crowd. A wonderful, fresh idea that reminded us that the guys are just as fun as they are talented.

With the crowd popping with energy and excitement,  Soulive continued to tackle our musical senses with Luther Dickinson singing a ripping version of Jimi Hendrix’s “Spanish Castle Magic.” During George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” the amazing guitar styling of Dickinson and Eric Krasno were showcased through stunning solos.

Percussionist Cody Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars) joined the stage for the Beatles “Tomorrow Never Knows,” Bob Dylan’s “Someday Baby,” and “Shake ‘Em on Down,” a country-style blues song recorded by Bukka White in 1937. The Dickinson brother’s southern-blues flavor enhanced every tune.

When Cody Dickinson knelt down and put on his washboard and his thimbles, the crowd paid deeper attention as they knew something unique was about to take place. Cody’s metal tipped fingers danced around on the electric washboard, closing the set with his rhythmic sounds backed by amazing bass licks from Neal Evans.

Final guest, DJ ?uestlove (The Roots), was unable to make the show due to circumstances out of his control. Eric Krasno announced to the audience that the power trio would continue playing and the crowd went wild. Then, the first unannounced special guest, Saunders Sermons (Tedeschi Trucks Band), sang and provided trombone for the Bill Wither’s cover “Kissin My Love.” It was a wonderful close to the first night of what promises to be another outstanding run.

Over the next seven nights, Soulive fans will hear music from legendary bass player George Porter, Jr., the heavy rocking London Souls, the soulful singing of Alecia Chakour, the powerful blows of the Shady Horns and so many more surprise artists who sit on the sidelines, hoping and itching to have a chance to join Soulive’s stage. Tonight, put your dancing shoes back on for pedal steel slide guitarist Robert Randolph (Robert Randolph and the Family Band) and soul singer Lee Fields (Lee Fields and the Expressions).

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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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