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Terminal 5 Event Poster

Terminal 5 Event Poster

The Royal Family Ball @ Terminal 5 (10.02.10)

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

Event Poster: The Royal Family Dream Team

Event Poster: The Royal Family Dream Team

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

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

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

They handed out party favors...

They handed out party favors...

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

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

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

The Royal Family

Soulive

Lettuce

The Nigel Hall Band

Chapter 2

The Shady Horns

Special Guests

John Scofield – Guitar

Warren Haynes – Guitar

Talib Kweli – Rapper

Big Sam Williams – Trombone

The Shady Horns

Maurice Brown – Trumpet

Christian Scott – Trumpet

Spinning between sets: DJ Equal

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

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

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

Nigel Hall – Keys, Vocals

Eric Krasno – Bass

Adam Deitch – Drums

Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff – Guitar

Sam Kininger -Saxophone

Ryan Zoidis – Alto & Baritone Saxophone

Maurice Brown – Trumpet

Alan Evans – Backup vocals

Lindsay Lucas – Backup vocals

Mel Flannery – Backup vocals

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

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

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

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

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

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

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

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

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

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

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

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

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

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

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

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

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

 

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

Set I: The Nigel Hall Band

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

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

DJ Equal spins in between sets

DJ Equal spins in between sets

Lettuce @ 8:45/9:00pm

Eric Krasno – Guitar

E.D. “Jesus” Combes – Bass, Vocals

Adam Deitch – Drums

Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff – Guitar

Neal Evans – Keys, Vocals

Sam Kinninger -Saxophone

Ryan Zoidis – Alto & Baritone Saxophone

Alan Evans – Percussion

Special Guests:

Big Sam Williams – Trombone

Maurice Brown – Trumpet

Christian Scott – Trumpet

John Scofield – Guitar

Talib Kweli – Rapper

Nigel Hall – Keys, Vocals

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Set II: Lettuce w/ Talib Kweli

Set II: Lettuce w/ Talib Kweli

“Talib was money” ~ Eric S.

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

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

The whole joint start shakin

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

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

 

Set II: Lettuce w/ Talib & Nigel

Set II: Lettuce w/ Talib & Nigel

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

Little focus on Nigel‘s vocals……

Set II: Lettuce

Set II: Lettuce

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

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

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

Set II: Lettuce

Set II: Lettuce

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dj Equal spinning away...

Dj Equal spinning away...

Soulive @ 10:30/10:45pm

Eric Krasno – Guitar

Neal Evans – Keys, bass

Alan Evans – Drums

Special Guests:

Warren Haynes – Guitar

Big Sam Williams – Trombone

Rashawn Ross – Trumpet

Sam Kinninger -Saxophone

Ryan Zoidis – Alto & Baritone Saxophone

Maurice Brown – Trumpet

Christian Scott – Trumpet

John Scofield – Guitar

Nigel Hall – Keys, Vocals

Set III: Soulive + Shady Horns

Set III: Soulive + Shady Horns

Keys + Bass = Amazing

Keys + Bass = Amazing

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

Set III: Soulive + Shady Horns

Set III: Soulive + Shady Horns

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

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

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

Set III: Shady Horns + some!!

Set III: Shady Horns + some!!

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

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

Set III: Soulive!

Set III: Soulive!

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

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

WARREN joins the stage...

WARREN joins the stage...

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

Set III: Soulive + Warren + Sco

Set III: Soulive + Warren + Sco

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

THANK YOU ROYAL FAMILY!!!

THANK YOU ROYAL FAMILY!!!

 

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

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

Thank You SO MUCH!!!

Thank You SO MUCH!!!

 

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Jeff Bujak @ Club Love

(179 McDougal Street)

(w/ Higher Nebulae, D.V.S., & Orchard Lounge)

Show Pamplet

Show Pamplet

In my mind, I consider myself just beginning to learn about (and possibly appreciate) these late night NYC music scenes.  A scene where the music doesn’t start until 11:00pm, maybe.  A scene where, unless you asked for help, you can’t find the door to the establishment, a scene hidden under the bowels of the city streets.   I normally rage a live concert where the doors open at 6pm and the show start at 8pm.  And THEN, if I have the energy (if?…who are we kidding?), I end up in a dark and grimy basement venue for the remainder of the night.  Most of the time it’s because a friend has talked me into raging harder and not because I feel as though there will be true talent on a stage.  To me, these are the times to mingle and dance till your a puddle of water on the floor.  I have no idea what is going on music wise as…how do I put this….it doesn’t register to me as live music.  It just doesn’t.

Rage Equipment!

Rage Equipment!

Dj-ing is clearly an art.  Sampling music, producing sounds, splicing tunes, putting them back together like a puzzle.  I get it.  I can see the DJs gears working in my mind’s eye when I hear some of the get-down beats we dance too.  And when they rage, I stop dancing and I embrace the lift in the room’s energy, nodding my head in recognition that they just mixed a dope track that got the floor jumpin’.  So, I love it, don’t get me wrong.  I do dance into a puddle and I have fun but it’s not the same thing if it’s just a person and their turntables.  It doesn’t drag me in and make my jaw drop.

Now, take that atmosphere, with that talented puzzle maker and throw in a live instrument.  Like Break Science who has Adam Deitch on the drums bringing forth that extra layer that makes it intoxicating, or The Sullivan Street Shakedown, which combines DJs with numerous live instruments rotated each month.  It lies in the fact that it’s alive to me at that moment.  It’s organic.  I can see it being created.  Tonight, I would be enjoying the performance of Jeff Bujak and he brought me exactly what I needed to have my jaw drop.

Rage equipment!

Rage equipment!

The show was held at Club Love.  Never having been before, I immediately was drawn to the name, wondering what it must look like.  I imagined it being dimly lit, a loungy-vibe with bright tones like purples, yellows and reds.  Slightly Disco-esque with plush couches and anything you would find in a Austin Powers movie.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.

With no sign to the establishment and the entrance being a door hidden by on of those large gate walls that businesses pull down when they close up shop, I only knew I was in the right spot thanks to the store owners around the area.  The show was to start at 10pm but I don’t think the doors even opened until 11pm.  I went across the street for a beer with the three other people foolish enough to come so early…see, I am still learning.

Rage Equipment!

Rage Equipment!

Upon entering Love, you head down the stairs into a dark, concrete floored, cavern-like basement and are forced either left or right.  If you choose right, you are met with the room that would be throwing us the get down grinds.  Probably holds about 250 (??) comfortably, one wall had bench style seating but that was it.  This was a room for dancing.  Period. There was a bar set up with caution tape around it, I assumed to give the waitress some room?  Flat out, not cool waitress.  I bought a $7 beer, gave her a $10 and she just ran with it.  When I asked her for my change, she was like “What? You want me to give you back 2 bucks?”  First of all, take a math course and Poor Service!!!  Seriously? Does it matter?  I used to be a waitress and I was a friggen princess even when I wanted to kill someone.  I will NEVER get used to the poor customer service practices in New York City.  There is TRULY nothing comparable in terms of shitty attitude .  Needless to say,  I was not amused.

Dancing and Hula Hooping

Dancing and Hula Hooping

There was no “stage” per say, just a portion of the floor that had been utilized for the equipment.  As well, there was an elevated portion that held the DJs booth.  I got to be sadly honest and admit that the front of the DJ booth was so high, I could barely see the tops of the DJ’s heads, let alone see them do their thing.  That made me sad.  But I am sure the rest of the world saw the Dj’s as they are all over 5 foot zero!!

If you took a left from Love’s entrance, you are taken to the restrooms, another bar and a separate room that looks cave-ish, like the walls were made of crappy styrafrom, the other walls were glass so that the patrons in the room were viewable from the bar area.  This room was for those who might need to take a rest from the intensity in the other room.  It is small but with stadium seating, more like concrete stairs.  It’s always good to have one of these rooms to retreat into when you have partied to hard.

Higher Nebulae started the night off with some dirty dance beats. There was some gospel layers and rock layers all with some deep whoomping bass.  When the bass beats were dropped we were given some familiar rock favorites and unexpected old school gems such as Metallica‘s “For Whom The Bell Tolls.”

D.V.S.

D.V.S.

Like I said, it’s hard for me to focus on the music when it’s just the DJs so I was wondering around trying to catch a buzz with the $10 beer in hand and attempting to get in the right frame of mind to dance into that puddle I was talking about.  The Banana Mafia was out in full force greeting what appeared to be half the venue who had come under his list.  He brought the energy, he brought in the dancers.  I appreciated that!  However, this Mafia member was without his Banana Suit?  Is that even allowed?  Am I supposed to be outing him over the internet?  Opps.  Either way, he raged all over that dance floor, as well as his friends, and we all had a blast together!!

D.V.S. was up next, his real name being Derek VanScoten.  Where as Jeff Bujak uses a piano to layer on top of his electronic beats, D.V.S. uses a Telecaster guitar.  I stopped my mingling and started focusing on D.V.S..  His music mixed Hip-hop, Soul and even Motown.  He sampled Jimi Hendrix‘s “Foxy Lady” and raged a great guitar during his samples.  He has recently toured as a solo artist supporting Ana Sia, Big Gigantic, Beats Antique, Boombox, Lynx & Janover, JFJO, and M80 Dubstation.  Honestly, not sure if I cared for him that much.  It didn’t do anything for me.

Jeff Bujak @ Club Love

Jeff Bujak @ Club Love

Let’s talk about Jeff Bujak, the man of the hour!  Duuuuude.  Having just discovered him earlier this summer at Rock The Resort, I was VERY eager to see him again live.  Jeff Bujak is a true musician.  A truly technically talented piano player who, from the moment I stepped foot into his performance at RTR, has had me hooked.  To me, when I listen to his music at home, Jeff reminds me of a mix between Tori Amos and Bruce Hornsby. I could come up with a ton of combination but seriously, his music is beautiful and quirky and demanding with organized chaos and it is all his own! He has coined his music “Intelligent Dance Music.”  Intriguing, no?

Jeff Bujak @ Club Love

Jeff Bujak @ Club Love

Jeff comes armed with everything needed to run his one-man show including light, sound, and smoke.  Cables and pedals everywhere, there is a laptop, a sound deck and his dual level keyboard at the helm of his personal electronic monster.  There is a row of lights above his left shoulder flashing us the light show in various colors and mixed to rage with the beat. His shoes were off and the show began.

The set list:

SET 1
Utopia > Kicker > Crowd > Machinist > Slimmy > Cascadation > Sunny’s Song* > PUTV > Mutator

* written by Benevento-Russo Duo (section of)

Jeff Bujak @ Club Love

Jeff Bujak @ Club Love

Utopia got it started with a synthesizer drop and a deep beat. Very quickly the layering of faster beats were released and right away it was a dance party.  His songs have catchy samples, this one, sampling Cake’s The Distance by using the lyrics “Reluctantly crouched at the starting line…”  After a while, amid the heavy beat of smashing cymbals, I feel a reggae vibe that quickly turns back into a deep electronic beat.

Kicker into Crowd brought us the classical, straight out gorgeous technical chamber piano skills that I adore him for.  These gorgeous notes layer over the rest of the dance worthy beats.  They are hit hard, there are sounds of electric guitars playing but I know that is Bujak manipulating the keys.  The sequenced drum loops made it sound like the drummer was in the room with us at times.  Then we got a little more of the pure keys, nothing manipulated, just beautiful piano sounds.  It’s a gorgeous mixture of electronic and organic.  I mean, there is just GORGEOUS composition amongst his hectic beats.

So, being that I am a romantic female, I found it to be just lovely music and I was pleased to see mainly men in that basement dancing.  In reality, I wondered if these wookies heard what I heard.  They were certainly dancing to the beats but I wonder if they realized just how good he sounded in that basement.  Club Love is rumored as having one of the best sound systems, so perhaps that helped.  There are parts of the songs that got so slow and so sensual.  Preferring to be a stand alone dancer at most shows I attend, it was my pleasure to dance intelligently with some dudes that night to this intelligent music.  A real pleasure. 😉

The music pierced my ear drums and so my ear plugs remained in the entire night.  I love my ear plugs because they helps break down the sounds and I can hear the music very clearly.  I recognized that I was in a grimy basement but being raised on Broadway shows and Classical theater and concerts, I was able to close my eyes and get thrown into the plush seats I imagined earlier.   The raging beats faded away and all I could hear was the gorgeous classical technical training he was throwing at us.

The music sounded like this (around 5:15ish mins he busts out the chamber piano):

But my mind would shut out parts and I would just hear something that sounded like this, beats faded away…just gorgeous:

Machinist is a song that amuses me. I imagine being at an Insane Clown Posse  or 311 show raging out and then Jeff layers some beautiful unmanipulated organized piano playing over it.  That is what does it for me.  I know I always say I love my horns, but I grew up listening to my father plays his piano every night after dinner while I cleared the table and did the dishes.  This fact also makes me overly critical towards keys players and I don’t have a single negative thing to say about Jeff’s work. It was a complete package, a complete pleasure.

Jeff Bujak @ Club Love

Jeff Bujak @ Club Love

Slimmy was mainly a synthesizer song and pretty sure I heard some Michael Jackson‘s “Thriller” in the mix.  It was HEAVY, deep, and a raging dance song.  This producer/composer really does delivers a vibrant sound so full of melodic energy it stirs even the most timid of dancers. No one was sitting. I make my way up to Jeff’s side, watching him play…oh the essence of a musician when they are in the zone.  Sometimes I swear can feel their energy radiate off them.  It’s what brings tears to my eyes sometimes.  We stand in the audience in love with these musician’s music but what we have to remember is they either love or hate what they are playing as well and you can fell it, you can see it.  The lights and the music and the venue were helping big time.  It was so beautiful and overwhelming.  One man was making all this happen.

I stepped outside for an adventure during Cascadation so I can’t tell you anything about that song. That is one you will just have to go and see to experience 🙂  I came back in towards the end of Sunny’s Song, partially written by Benevento-Russo Duo. Pretty, melodic, slower then the rest.  PUTV gave us a manipulated synthed start to the song with samplings from Eric B. & Rakim’s “Pump Up The Volume” gently layered on top of the rest of the tune.  He goes back and forth between the manipulated sounds and the organic sound the ivories make.  Again, the looped drum beats are stellar and fast forcing Bujak’s fingers to go full blast.

Mutator was last for the evening. To be honest, I wasn’t sure when one song ended or began.  My notes are full of lines where I believe one ends and another beings, arrows shooting up the page because I felt as if he had gone from one song to another and back again, not sure.  Sometimes it was clear and other times it was so well-played that if the change occurred, I had no clue where it was.

Here is the video I took of Jeff @ Club Love…sorry for the sound quality. I had my ear plugs in and it sounded GORGEOUS and crisp in my ear…you get the point 🙂

Orchard Lounge raged our faces off for the rest of the evening but I will have to review them another time.  Jeff was what had brought me here tonight. I had come with the intentions of leaving after Jeff’s set but there was NO WAY. Not only was I one of the first people to arrive that night, I ended up being one of the last people to leave.  Jeff hung out a bit and, when we weren’t dancing, I wandered with my dance partner, getting in to trouble here and there, totally full of energy.  It was a great night and all thank to Jeff….thanks Buj 🙂  Be sure to check out Jeff Bujak’s newest full-length released on Harmonized Records:  “Alive Like the Spine

And as I hit PUBLISH, the irony is not lost on me as I listen to my neighbor begin giving one of her lovely piano lessons…..life is magnificent!

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Last Thursday, March 25, 2010, there were a few great musical options to choose from and I was having an internal struggle. MoonAlice and Some Cat From Japan were playing at The Brooklyn Bowl for $5, while Tower of Power was playing at B.B. Kings for $30.

Tower of Power @ B.B. Kings (03.25.10)

Tower of Power @ B.B. Kings (03.25.10)

If I had planned better, I could have attended the 7:30pm show of Tower of Power and ran to The Brooklyn Bowl to catch Some Cat From Japan at 10:30pm. While on the phone with a friend debating on my plan of action, I was feed a little anecdote.  He explained how when it comes to these seasoned bands, it’s best to attend the later show so that they can use the earlier show as a warm-up.  When it was all put into perspective, I knew what decision I would make!  TOWER OF POWER, and for many reasons…

1. I had never seen them before!!

2. I was on the guest list so $30 back in my pocket

3. I wanted to stay closer to home and this was in Manhattan vs. Brooklyn

4. I had never seen them before!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Times Square Mural by Sofia Maldonado

Times Square Mural by Sofia Maldonado

Being that this was an event scheduled on the NYC Funk Live’s Meetup group site, I knew I would be with some music heads to enjoy the show with.  I arrived first and joined the LOOOONG line outside which stretched all the way to the end of the block.

Sometime between February’s Fat Tuesday Show with George Porter Jr. and tonight’s Tower of Power show, a thought-provoking mural had been erected along 92 feet of Times Square Mural by Sofia Maldonado the sidewalk down West 42nd Street commanding the attention of all who walked by with its loud and vibrant portrayal of “Strong Women.”

The mural was envisioned and designed by Sofia Maldonado, a Puerto Rican/Cuban artist.  She was commissioned by the Times Square Alliance to create a work of art and that she did. Go check it out:

While studying the mural and getting completely lost in its intricacies and the statement that is was screaming at me, members of NYC Funk Live group started arriving and our section of the line began to bubble out as our group grew while waiting.

After 25 minutes of waiting in 3 stages of the line, we were finally in.   There were tables lining every inch of available dance space. By the time were we ushered in, there were only a few available tables left, all with horrible sight lines of the stage. Not that it mattered as none of us wanted to eat, nor did we want to have to pay a minimum of $20 a person for drinks. And , of course, we certainly didn’t want to SIT at a funk concert…PERIOD!!!

Tower of Power took the stage within minutes and we were immediately confronted with more confusion. Obviously we had to stand but where?  Where could we put our jackets/scarves/bags since there is no coat check?   Where do we dance if there is no dance floor?  B.B. Kings strikes again…but let’s get to the good stuff!!!!!

Tower of Power is a horn-heavy jazzy, funky explosion of sound.  One of the first funk/pop groups to incorporate multiple ethnicities, Tower of Power blasted out of the 60’s and remains a founder of funk today, empowering and inspiring younger musicians. Below is the only video I took of the night! Too busy dancing…

The wonderful group of musicians that blessed the stage that night as Tower of Power were:

  • Larry Braggs – Lead Vocalist
  • David Garibaldi – Drums
  • Tom E. Politzer – Lead Tenor sax
  • Emilio Castillo – Tenor Sax
  • Roger Smith – Keyboards
  • Adolfo Acosta – Trumpet
  • Stephen “Doc” Kupka – Baritone Sax
  • Jerry Cortex – Guitar, back up vocals
  • Mic Gillette – Trumpet, Trombone, Flugelhorn
  • Francis Rocco Prestia – Bass
Al Chez w/ TOP (03.25.10)

Al Chez w/ TOP (03.25.10)

Special Guests that night included Al Chesnovitz, or Al Chez, former TOP member and Letterman Show band member, and Lenny Pickett, Former TOP Lead Tenor and Musical Director for Saturday Night Live.

Set ListWhat is Hip?, This Time It’s Real, You Got To Funkifize, You Ought to be Having Fun, So Very Hard to Go, There’s Only So Much Oil in the Ground, Get Yo’ Feet Back on the Ground, Hip Street, and Give Me the Proof, and Walking up Hip Street!  ~~~~ (I am sure there are a few I didn’t catch but they only played from 10pm-1130 so there wasn’t room for many songs.)

Larry Braggs of TOP (03.25.10)

Larry Braggs of TOP (03.25.10)

Lead singer, Larry Braggs, is utterly amazing. AMAZING!!!!  I can absolutely see why all the women were swooning while he sang the slower ballads and why they drooled when he blasted out louder, funkier songs like This Time It’s Real.  During Startime, the James Brown tribute melody from the “Great American Soulbook,” I literally had tingles down my spine when he sang.

I have only recently been focusing on the singing/vocals when I attend shows. Normally, I take apart the entire song and pick and choose which instruments to focus on at any given time and then phase them all back together in my head to hear the song.   The vocals fall by the way side because they are just poetry to me and I can just read them later.  But with Larry, I was always drawn away from the instruments and back to the vocals. It wasn’t the lyrics, it was just his voice.  This has only really ever happened with a few male singers as I am drawn to female voices. Very strange.

Doc & @ B.B. Kings (03.25.10)

Doc & Emilio Castillo @ B.B. Kings (03.25.10)

It was during the more well-known songs, What is Hip and This Time It’s Real, that the folks sitting at the tables were able to find their dancing legs and rise.  However, it only took a few notes out of the horn section during the first song to get those of us with the NYC Funk Live group dancing.  Meredith N., our group’s founder, found us a tiny sliver of dancing space to the left of the stage in front of an abandoned reserved table.  It was a horrible space to view the band but we HAD to boogie…so, priorities!!  And move we did….it became infectious.  Meredith proceeded to dance up and down the aisles of BORING seated patrons which got a few laughs and eventually a large group of people were on their feet or silly business men were trying to dance with us haha.

Roger Smith @ B.B. Kings (03.25.10)

Roger Smith @ B.B. Kings (03.25.10)

I LOVE the Baritone Sax, so naturally, Stephen “Doc” Kupka was a favorite. That instrument pinged thorough my head with every note. Apparently, it was Doc’s birthday that night as well.   Happy Birthday Doc!

I have to say, though, that the keys player, Roger Smith, killed it during his solos.  During Hip Street, the horn section left the stage leaving Roger to solo on the B-3 and David Garibaldi to back him on drums.  I knew I wanted a picture of Roger and I was immediately pulled in his direction when the solo began.  Unfortunately, I was focusing too much on his solo to take a decent shot.   Eventually, the horns joined back in, the song was complete and I could care less about the picture as Tower of Power had just laid one on us with that song and was about to hand us another rager with Give Me the Proof.

Tower of Power @  B.B. Kings (03.25.10)

Tower of Power @ B.B. Kings (03.25.10)

Bass player, Jerry Cortez, joined the group last year but only started touring with them in January so this was a treat.  His background vocals blended well with Larry’s but I was more interested in hearing him play that bass.

The band went on at 10pm, finished their set at 11:21 and came out for one more song. We were out of there by 11:50pm after we helped Meredith N. hand out her NYC Funk Live notices.  Walking to the subway with my funky friends, we all agreed that despite the lack of dance floor, we were all very pleased with the high octane funk that we were just delivered.

Tower of Power @  B.B. Kings (03.25.10)

Tower of Power @ B.B. Kings (03.25.10)

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