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

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

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

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

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

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


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

 Karen E. Dugan

– Photo courtesy of Marc Millman

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

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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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Tedeschi/Trucks Band (Photo by Suzy Perler)

Tedeschi/Trucks Band (Photo by Suzy Perler)

One of the most beautiful things about music is its ability to connect to us on so many levels.  There is the connection between the audience and the musicians; we love them, we hate them, we worship them, we envy them, we listen to them and we critique them.  There is the connection between the musicians on stage as they smile at each other, follow and lead the jam getting lost in the music as we do.  There is a connection to the music through emotions, as the songs make us weep, laugh, get angry, get hyper or sullen. Physically, we dance to the grooves and our connection to the venue and our fellow audience members becomes established as we release our energy onto them.  Finally, the better the group is, the harder, deeper and more intense the connections prove to be.

Tedeschi/Trucks Band (Photo by Suzy Perler)

Tedeschi/Trucks Band (Photo by Suzy Perler)

Derek Trucks (Photo By Dino Perrucci)

Derek Trucks (Photo By Dino Perrucci)

The creation of the Tedeschi/Trucks Band connects very deeply with me on all those levels.  Derek Trucks is my favorite guitarist alive.  When he takes a solo, I many times lose my shit.  He is still the only guitarist who can make me cry in the middle of a rock song, any song for that matter.   Yes, we all know I cry freely when music touches me but no one can get me going as quickly as Derek can.

Susan Tedeschi (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

Susan Tedeschi (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

Susan Tedeschi is hands down my favorite singer in our scene.  When I broke off my engagement a few years ago, her music/voice played an intense part in my healing process.  Specifically, go check out her cover of Bob Dylan’s “Baby, Don’t Think Twice.”  Tell me you don’t LOVE that song!

I was privileged enough to meet them both on their tour bus at Mountain Jam last year and was able to yet again, build another connection as I thanked them for their music, spoke with them about NY living and just hung with them as “regular” people, not the famous musicians I had come to love and worship after finding their talent in 2000.

Susan and Derek (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

Susan and Derek (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

At the end of the day, the beauty of this group lies in its greatest connection: LOVE.  Love is the deepest connection two people can have.  Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks are married.  A connection so great and built on love’s foundation.  As well, Derek and Susan chose their line-up wisely, picking from musicians they themselves love and whose talent they feel is outstanding.  When you mix love and music you get The Tedeschi/Trucks Band!

RAGE!!!!!!!!  (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

HE PUT ON HIS RAGE FACE!!!!!!!! (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

The Tedeschi/Trucks Band
Derek Trucks – Guitar
Susan Tedeschi – Guitar & Vocals
Oteil Burbridge – Bass
Kofi Burbridge – Keys & Flute
Tyler Greenwell – Drums
JJ Johnson – Drums
Mike Mattison – Backing Vocals
Mark Rivers – Backing Vocals
Maurice Brown – Trumpet
Kebbi (?)- Saxophone
Unknown – Trombone

The Highline Ballroom was packed! Not surprisingly, the performance had sold out within days of tickets going on sale. The venue withheld the tickets for pick up at the club box office to deter ticket reselling, something I hadn’t dealt with before. There was no opening band and the band took to the stage a little after 8pm to a crazy excited audience.

Oteil Burbirdge (Photo by Suzy Perler)

Oteil Burbirdge (Photo by Suzy Perler)

I’d say that 75% of the audience were 40+ yr old men who needed a fix of their bro-crush from The Allman Brothers Band.  Personally, I wondered how many of these men truly cared about anyone else on stage.  Certainly, The Allman Brother’s fans noticed the amazing Oteil Burbridge  on stage.  I know I did. What a line up.  Oteil’s brother, Kofi, took his rightful place behind the keyboard.

Kofi Burbridge (Photo by Suzy Perler)

Kofi Burbridge (Photo by Suzy Perler)

As all Derek and Susan projects, Mike Mattison was on backup vocals.  Then, there was Mark Rivers, someone who I had never heard of before and I can’t seem to find any information on. Send me a link if you find something! Their voices blended seamlessly with Susan’s but I didn’t really get a full effect from them closer to the end of the performance.

Susan & Derek (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

Susan & Derek (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

Tyler Greenwell, an alumni of the school of Colonel Bruce Hampton, made himself known on stage throughout the whole night with his thick drumming. Great musicality.  JJ Johnson, the second drummer on stage, was a new name to my ears.  His latest venture has been touring as John Mayer’s drummer.  I’ve always loved John Mayer’s songwriting and lyrics but it stops with his music.  Let’s hope JJ Johnson isn’t as much as a douche as Mr. Mayer like to portray himself.  I am sure he isn’t because only great karma gets you a post within the band of one of these magnificent musicians!

Maurice Brown (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

Maurice Brown (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

Susan Tedeschi (Photo By Dino Perrucci)

Susan Tedeschi (Photo By Dino Perrucci)

The horn section was good. I want to say out of this world but I couldn’t really feel anything from two out of the three horn players.  Sadly, I can’t find any mention of the names of the horn section either and the only person I recognized on stage was Maurice Brown on trumpet. Maurice was the horn player who throw it down until the encore.  He was the stand out of the horn section as he ripped open his solo on Uptight (video below), as he twirled his trumpet to the beat like a cowboy does a gun and how he got down dancing completely into the groove when the music moved him. He is a pleasure to watch just like Oteil.  Great stage presence.  Each of the musicians on stage were connected to Derek and Susan in some way but I believe Maurice Brown is the only member not to have played with them before.

(Photo by Suzy Perler)

(Photo by Suzy Perler)

Derek Trucks (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

Derek Trucks (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

Kicking the set off with the instrumental Five Minute Rule, the entire 11-piece ensemble warmed up their instruments and busted out a bit of their chops.  They were just itching to release their music upon us.  They covered epically jamming covers like The Meter’s funky Just Kissed My Baby and Jimi Hendrix’s Manic Depression with Oteil on vocals. At a point in the song, the members on stage back off as Kofi and Oteil were being spotlighted.  My eyes followed Derek and Susan as they sat down on some speakers.  I watched Susan sit down, put her hand on her husband’s leg and smiled deeply into his eyes and mouthed “Hi!”  It was so touching. During the drummer focus at the end of  Stevie Wonder’s Uptight (Outta Sight), both drummers gave us a taste of their talent.  Combined, we were delivered a sense of their sound and sensitivity.


The  group sang a number of songs from their new album, Revolver.  The soulful Love Has Something Else To Say was beautiful. As well, The Derek Trucks Band cover, Midnight in Harlem resonated through the venue as Susan’s emotive vocals carried it away.

Kofi & Susan (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

Kofi & Susan (Photo by Suzy Perler)

Sly Stone’s Simple Song brought the absolute heat.  Susan Tedeschi and Mike Mattison’s vocals was sultry and possessive of the energy in the room.  Mattison’s standing out more for this one, however.  Kofi Burbridge brought it up with the keys. Kofi just sounds better every time I hear him.  Sadly, I don’t think I ever heard the flute.  Maurice Brown took the best solo of the night from the horn players yet again, destroying the funky rock song with a huge jazz0filled solo.  And behind it all, Oteil’s bass line could be heard solid and full of get down funky.  They killed this song!!!

Maurice Brown (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

Maurice Brown (Photo by Dino Perrucci)

The set ended with Herbie Hancock’s Space Captain. Might have been the greatest, most upbeat song of the night!! The spotlight was on Kofi Burbridge as he busted out the intro on keys and was showcased throughout the song in his solos.  Susan’s vocals filled in the rest and the drummers made themselves known. But it wasn’t until Derek Trucks ripped us his solo that I really lost it, weeping openly a few measures in.  Derek Trucks shred our faces off!! Oteil followed me and went, well, nuts.  bouncing all over the stage and dancing with his bass!!  The man is brilliant.   I lost my shit in the second row as I saw the musicians on stage putting on their rager faces and feeling Derek as well. Derek’s ever composed, precise, intense playing makes him one of the world’s greatest guitarist and a master at the slide.  Susan threw her hands up in praise toward him and at that moment Highline Ballroom was Church and Derek Trucks was God!!

Susan & Oteil (Phot By Dino Perrucci)

Susan & Oteil (Phot By Dino Perrucci)

With the ending of such a killer performance they could have gone out on that note and still gotten rave reviews.  KILLER ending to a set but the audience wanted more!!  Before the rest of the band came back to the stage, Kebbi on saxophone player began to rage.  Kebbi ripped right into a hyper jazz solo which eventually was supplemented by JJ Johnson on drums. And yes, he was great! I also gotta say the saxophonist killed that part of the show so I take back what I said about Maurice owning the horn section all night.  Eventually, everyone rejoined and the danceable funky blues song, Bound For Glory, the only song from their new album that is available for download, was the last song played.

The Tedeschi/Trucks band is absolutely brilliant.  Having the past connections of playing with each other behind them, they are way past the rehearsal stage in their third show.  With musicians with never ending talent  and an amazing set list, the night’s performance was a solid treat for the middle of the week.  Listening to this entire set and watching Derek Trucks, I realized that I hadn’t seen him so spirited in a long, LONG time.  His smile was evident throughout the night as was his Rager face!  Susan Tedeschi got me so into the mood that it brought tears to my eyes.  I hadn’t felt this touched by music in a long, long time.

I thought the show/band was great — but with that much talent up there, how could they not be? If I had a criticism, it’s that the show was too short… we want more! ~ Jonathon A.

Derek Trucks (Photo by Suzy Perler)

Derek Trucks (Photo by Suzy Perler)

SetList:
Five Minute Rule>
Love Has Something Else To Say
Midnight In Harlem
Just Kissed My Baby
Comin’ Home
Till You Remember
Sing A Simple Song
Nobody’s Free
That Did It
Uptight>Bass>Drums>
Manic Depression (Oteil vocal)
Space Captain

Encore:
Kebbi & JJ jam>
Bound For Glory

Download Tedeschi/Trucks Highline Ball Room Show Here!!

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October 2010 Potential Show Run Down!

October 2010 Potential Show Run Down

Calendar updated daily!

Friday, October 1st, 2010

  • ($25-$45) Stanley Clarke Feat. Hiromi @ The Blue Note
  • ($32-$112) Alan Gilbert Conducts Mahler’s Sixth Symphony @ Avery Fisher Hall (New York Philharmonic)
  • ($50-$80) Celtic Thunder @ Radio City Music Hall

Saturday, October 2nd, 2010

Sunday, October 3rd, 2010

  • I suggest lots of sleep after The Royal Family Ball 😉

Monday, October 4th, 2010

  • ($8) Jim Campilongo@ The Living Room
  • ($25) Mingus Orchestra @ The Jazz Standard

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

  • (Free) Dred Scott Trio & THE BRIDGE @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • (Free) Mavis Staples @ Late Show with David Letterman
  • ($32) Faith Evans @B.B. King Blues Club and Grill
  • ($80 – $250) Roger Waters: The Wall Live @ Madison Square Garden
  • ($25) Peter Yorn @ Bowery Ballroom

Wednesday, October 6th, 2010

  • (??) Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds @ Southpaw
  • (Free) Mavis Staples @ Colbert Report (TV)
  • ($10) D.V.S. @ Club Love
  • ($12.25) The EGG plus Sonic Spank @ Mercury Lounge
  • ($20) Davell Crawford @ The Jazz Standard
  • ($80 – $250) Roger Waters: The Wall Live @ Madison Square Garden
  • ($35 – $50) Mavis Staples – “You are Not Alone” – Album Release presented by WFUV @ City Winery
  • ($10) Mattson, Barraco & Friends @ Sullivan Hall
    • Jeff Mattson (DSO, Donna Jean Godchaux Band, Zen Tricksters) , Rob Barraco (DSO, Phil & Friends, Zen Tricksters) , Jason Crosby (Robert Randolph, Susan Tedeschi, Zen Tricksters) , Joe Chirco (Donna Jean Godchaux Band, David Nelson Band, Zen Tricksters) with opening act Easy Over
  • ($44 – $128) Joshua Bell Performs Sibelius @ Avery Fisher Hall

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

  • (Free) Gorillaz @ The Late Show with David Letterman
  • ($5) ?uestlove DJ Set @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($10) Underground Horns “Big Beat” CD release Party @ Nublu
  • ($10) Live Band Tribute to A Tribe Called Quest w/ Alphabet Soup @ Sullivan Hall
  • ($10 – $27) Rosanna Cash @ Kaufmann Concert Hall
    • Upon the publication of Composed, Ms. Cash sits down for a conversation about her life in music.
  • ($28.50 – $33.50) The Hold Steady @ The Beacon Theater
  • ($30) Gil Scott-Heron @ B.B. Kings
  • ($35) Fountains of Wayne @ Bowery Ballroom
  • ($32 – $117) Joshua Bell, Debussy, Sibelius, and Lindberg @ Avery Fisher Hall

Friday, October 8th, 2010

  • (Free?) Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds @ Rockwood Music Hall 2
  • ($5) Big Sam’s Funky Nation @ Brooklyn Bowl
    • Opener: Ikebe Shakedown
    • ($10) Solange DJ Set @ Midnight
  • ($20) Jackie Green @ Bowery Ballroom
  • ($25) The Subdudes @ B.B. Kings
  • ($35) Moe @ Beacon Theater
  • ($35-$45) The Jazz Gallery Rent Jam hosted by Roy Hargrove @ City Winery (late Night)
  • ($32 – $117) Joshua Bell, Debussy, Sibelius, and Lindberg @ Avery Fisher Hall
  • ($50-$125) Gorillaz & Mos Def @ Madison Square Garden

Saturday, October 9th, 2010

  • (Free) West African Band @ St. Nicks, Harlem
  • (Free) Private Party @ Sullivan Hall w/ Lo & Aaron (GSW), Leroy Justice and Jaik Miller
  • ($10-$12) Bustle In Your Hedgerow feat. Joe Russo, Marco Benevento, Dave Dreiwitz and Scott Metzger @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($25) Mago – John Medeski & Billy Martin @ Rocks Off Cruise

Sunday, October 10th, 2010

  • ($20) Corrosion of Conformity @ Highline Ballroom

Monday, October 11th, 2010

  • ($8) Jim Campilongo@ The Living Room
  • ($25) Mingus Orchestra @ The Jazz Standard
  • ($65 – $165) Mary J. Blige @ Radio City Music Hall

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

  • (Free) Dred Scott Trio & THE BRIDGE @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • (Free) My  Morning Jacket @ The Late Show w/ David Letterman
  • (Free) REEFER MOVIE MADNESS: THE ULTIMATE STONER FILM GUIDE BOOK RELEASE PARTY @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($32 – $117) Joshua Bell, Debussy, Sibelius, and Lindberg @ Avery Fisher Hall
  • ($65 – $165) Mary J. Blige @ Radio City Music Hall

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

  • (Free) My Morning Jacket @ Late Night w/ Jimmy Fallon
  • ($7) Afro Funky Party w/ Zongo Junction, Top Shotta & DJ Offbeat @ Cameo Gallery
  • ($10) R+D with Savoy (DJ), D.V.S*, NUTRITIOUS, MUNcee superjam and Mad Hatter @ Club Love
  • ($10) Jessica Lurie Ensemble @ Brooklyn Lyceum
  • ($12) Dawoud – Renegade Sufi Sitar! @ The Theater for the New City
  • ($25) Ingrid Michaelson @ Best Buy Theater (Formally Nokia Theatre)
  • ($32.59 – $39.50) The Avett Brothers @ Radio City Music Hall

Thursday, October 14th, 2010

  • (Free) Ben Folds @ Late Night w/ Jimmy Falon
  • ($5) ?uestlove DJ Set @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($10) Dred Scott Trio @ 55 Bar
  • ($10) Apollo Run @ Union Hall
  • ($25) Tom Tom Club @ Santos House Party
    • W/ Caravan of Thieves and The Tony Castles
  • ($40 – $138) Pinchas Zukerman, Webern, and Brahms@ Avery Fisher Hall (NYPHIL)

Friday, October 15th, 2010

  • ($5) The Trifect @ Sullivan Hall – FUUUUUSION!!!!
  • ($5) M80 Dubstation Feat. Jon Gutwillig from The Disco Biscuits @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($5) Brother Josephus & Josh Phillips Folk Festival @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($36.20) Citizen Cope @ Terminal 5
  • ($30-$45) Dar Williams & Toshi Reagon – Many Great Companions Tour @ City Winery
  • ($32.50 – $35) John Hammond @ Rubin Museum of Art
  • ($40 – $138) Pinchas Zukerman, Webern, and Brahms@ Avery Fisher Hall (NYPHIL)

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

  • (Free) West African Band @ St. Nicks, Harlem
  • ($10) Tom Tom Club @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($35 – $40) Air Supply @ B.B. Kings
  • ($30-$45) Dar Williams & Toshi Reagon – Many Great Companions Tour @ City Winery
  • ($36.20) Citizen Cope @ Terminal 5
  • ($40 – $138) Pinchas Zukerman, Webern, and Brahms@ Avery Fisher Hall (NYPHIL)

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

Monday, October 18th, 2010

  • ($8) Jim Campilongo@ The Living Room
  • ($25) Mingus Orchestra @ The Jazz Standard
  • ($30) UP ON THE RIDGE – Dierks Bentley @ Bowery Ballroom
  • ($50) My Morning Jacket @ Terminal 5

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

  • (Free) Dred Scott Trio @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • (Free) Jason Linder Trio @ Fordham University
  • ($10) Kinetix @ Sullivan Hall
  • ($10) Chico Mann @ Santos House Party
  • ($25-$40) UP ON THE RIDGE – Dierks Bentley & Del McCoury Band @ City Winery
  • ($50) My Morning Jacket @ Terminal 5

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

  • ($5) ?uestlove DJ Set @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($12) Eli Paperboy Reed & The True Loves @ Le Poisson Rouge
  • ($25) UP ON THE RIDGE – Dierks Bentley @ Southpaw
  • @ Southpaw
  • ($47.50) My Morning Jacket @ Terminal 5
  • ($50-$90) Thievery Corporation @ Beacon Theater
  • (Starting @ $50) “A Celebration of Paul Newman’s Hole In The Wall Camps” @ Avery Fisher Hall @ Lincoln Center
    • Performances Will Feature a Line-Up of GRAMMY® Winning Musicians Including Hilary Hahn, Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett, John Mellencamp, Keb’ Mo’ and Stevie Wonder With Appearances by Bill Cosby and Renee Zellweger

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

  • (Free) The London Souls @ The Brooklyn Academy of Music
  • ($20 – $25) THE MONSTER MASH –> Fort Knox Five @ The Electric Warehouse w/ Woody McBride and Larry Tea
  • ($25) Yonder Mountain String Band @ Best Buy Theatre (Formally Nokia Theater)
  • ($47.50) My Morning Jacket @ Terminal 5
  • ($50-$90) Thievery Corporation @ Beacon Theater
  • ($60 – SOLD OUT) Phish @ Providence, RI @ Dunkin Donuts Center

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

  • (Free) West African Band @ St. Nick’s Pub
  • (Free) Apollo Run @ Rockwood Music Hall 1
  • (Free) Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds @ Rockwood Music Hall 2
  • (Free) Kings of Leon @ Saturday Night Live (TV)
  • ($10) The Breakfast @ Crash Mansion
  • ($35-$60) Jakob Dylan @ City Winery
  • ($40 – $100) Cheech and Chong @ The Beacon Theater
  • ($42 – $48) Indigo Girls @ Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall
  • ($47.50) My Morning Jacket @ Terminal 5
  • ($60 – SOLD OUT) Phish @ Amhurst, MA @ Mullins Center

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

  • ($8) Apollo Run @ Pianos
  • ($35-$60) Jakob Dylan @ City Winery
  • ($50 – $113) Steve Miller Band @ Beacon Theater
  • ($60 – SOLD OUT) Phish @ Amhurst, MA @ Mullins Center

Monday, October 25th, 2010

  • (Free) Dred Scott Trio @ The Delancey
  • (Free) Kings of Leon @ Late Show with David Letterman (TV)
  • ($8) Jim Campilongo@ The Living Room
  • ($25) Mingus Orchestra @ The Jazz Standard
  • ($35-$60) Jakob Dylan @ City Winery

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

  • (Free) The Bridge @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • (Free) Dred Scott Trio @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • ($10) Talib Kewli @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($40) Bad Religion @ Irving Plaza

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

  • ($??) Chico Mann @ Santos House Party
  • ($25 – $35) Ollabelle @ City Winery
  • ($25 – $153) Yo Yo Ma & Kathryn Scott @ Carnegie Hall
  • ($40) Bad Religion @ Irving Plaza

Thursday, October 28th, 2010

  • ($5) ?uestlove DJ Set @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($10) The Mother Hips @ The Brooklyn Bowl
    • w/ Sean Walsh & The National Reserve
  • ($20) Trouble & Bass  @ Santos House Party
    • Ninja Tune XX (anniversary party): Amon Tobin, Kid Koala, DJ Food & DK, Poirier Toddla T & Serocee, DJ Kentaro, Eskmo
  • ($42) Michael Franti & Spearhead @ Terminal 5
  • ($50 – $90) Styx @ The Beacon Theatre
  • ($70-$80) Deadmau5 @ Roseland Ballroom

Friday, October 29th, 2010

  • (FREE??) Dred Scott @ Smalls Jazz Club
  • ($10) The Macpodz @ Sullivan Hall
  • ($15) The Toasters & the Pietasters @ B.B. Kings Blues Club
  • ($30) Ok Go @ Terminal 5
  • ($37) Railroad Earth with Donna the Buffalo @ Irving Plaza
  • ($40) Guster @ The Beacon Theater
  • ($60 – SOLD OUT) Phish @ Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall
  • ($70-$80) Deadmau5 @ Roseland Ballroom

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

  • ($10) Jimkata, Papadosio and D.V.S. @ Sullivan Hall
  • ($36) Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams @ The Gramercy Theater
  • ($36-$40) Cypress Hill @ Besy Buy Theater (Formally Nokia Theatre)
  • ($60 – SOLD OUT) Phish @ Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall
  • ($70-$80) Deadmau5 @ Roseland Ballroom

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

  • ($24) The Felice Brothers @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
  • ($50) The Black Crowes @ Best Buy Theater (Formally Nokia Theatre)
  • ($60 – SOLD OUT) Phish @ Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall

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The 41st New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival:

A Russ Agdern Perspective: Thursday, April 29, 2010

(The Fairgrounds Reopen, Marisa Arrives, Let’s Zydeco!)

Mr. Russ Agdern

Mr. Russ Agdern

(Read Russ’s “Wednesday, April 28, 2010″ here)

Cake Cafe (Photo by Bryna Stiefel)

Cake Cafe (Photo by Bryna Stiefel)

So after a five hour sleep, I shower, get dressed, catch up with my buddy for a minute, then it’s off to the Cake Café for a croissant and up the Fairgrounds for Day 1.  It’s a little overcast, the perfect kind of Fest day, not too hot and sunny.  Text my folks to let em know I’m on my way.  Stop to buy water from the same lady I buy water from outside the fest every year, grab my cubes (slang, term to describe Jazz Fest schedule) and tell the nice lady hanging out to remember me and not be surprised when I sweat through them and come back every day.  Get my stuff searched, my ticket scanned, and wow, I’m in.  HAPPY JAZZFEST!

Fais DO DO Stage (Photo by allentomdude)

Fais DO DO Stage (Photo by allentomdude)

For those who don’t know about Jazz Fest, there are three stages you always need to make time to check out: the Gospel Tent, the Jazz and Heritage Stage, and the Fais Do-Do (pronounced Fay doughdough) Stage.  Just do it; make the time.  Because at each of those spaces, there’s a really good chance you’ll hear someone you’ve never heard of before making incredible music.

McMain High School Gospel Choir

McMain High School Gospel Choir

I learned this lesson really well in 2008 and I try to stick to it, so seeing as it’s the first venue on the way in, I grab a seat in the Gospel Tent to check out the McMain High School Gospel Choir.  Local high school, apparently, I know nothing about them and sit down.  WOW.  Amazing!  Unbelievable voices, poise, energy, showmanship.  Just incredible!  All kinds of soloists started doing amazing things, and their band, comprised of high school musicians, was incredibly tight!  Texted my wife that the choir was so good I was thinking about converting, and the Gospel tent is so good it wasn’t the first or last time I’ve made that joke.

Kirk Joseph (Photo By Jeff Dupuis)

Kirk Joseph (Photo By Jeff Dupuis)

While there, I figured out roughly how my day was going to go, then made my way over to LB and her Krewe of folks at the fairgrounds.  LB  is a Jazzfest vet, having been many times, and I had the pleasure of bonding with her about Jazzfest at a Big Sam show last year, so we’ve been hitting great funk shows together since then.  Her Krewe had a nice spot by the Acura (main 1) stage, and I went to check out Kirk Joseph’s Backyard Groove.  Kirk Joseph is the original sousaphone player of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and is credited by many with taking Sousaphone playing into the realm of replacing an electric bass in a funk band.  This style of Sousaphone playing, taken up by others like “Tuba Phil” Frazier of the Rebirth Brass Band, has become the standard for many Brass Bands around the world, and Joseph was one of the innovators, so I wanted to see what his new band was putting down.  Nice lineup, multiple horns including what looked like a baritone horn (smaller version of a regular tuba), keys, guitar, and a couple of singers.  Doing a nice mix of funky stuff, flirtatious titles (don’t let me have a taste if I don’t get to have the whole thing), and stuff with a message about living together.

Prejean's pheasant, quail and andouille gumbo (Photo by Prejean's Restaurant)

Prejean's pheasant, quail and andouille gumbo (Photo by Prejean's Restaurant)

Speaking of tastes, it wouldn’t be Fest without the food!  Went off to get my first tastes of Fest, including the Pheasant, Quail and Andouie Gumbo from Prejeans that I look forward to every year, as well as the stuffed mushrooms that are just delicious.  And the nice folks at Prejeans gave me a FREE BOWL!  After I stopped to take a sip, I groaned at how good the stuff is.  One of the folks behind the table asked me why I stopped, I told her it tasted just like I remembered it did last year, and she handed me another bowl without waiting.  Awesome!  Some to share with LB’s buddies of the Superchill Krewe.  Yeah you right!

Dumpstaphunk (Photo by Jason Moran)

Dumpstaphunk (Photo by Jason Moran)

Nothing else grabbed my fancy, so I decided to stay put at Acura and give Dumpstaphunk a real chance.  I always kind of a weird feeling about them-  I feel about musical families the way I feel about royal families- having the name doesn’t impress me, you have to bring it.  Being Art Neville’s nephew and playing keys made me a little wary- I’m a huge devotee of Poppa Funk, and didn’t want to see someone up there just b/c of the name.  But Ivan really brought it on keys and with some great energy on vocals as well.  By the second tune, “Turn This Thing Around” which was talking about helping folks that need a hand, I was really digging the groove.  In some ways, Dumpstaphunk reminded me of a mix between the tight funk of the Meters and the cosmic slop of P-Funk.  Nasty grooves and a good message?  Sign me up.  Ivan and the whole crew were serious business, and I’m sorry I ever had a thought that he wasn’t earning it, because Ivan is a monster on them keys.

Walter Payton with Snapbeans & Gumbo Filé

Walter Payton with Snapbeans & Gumbo Filé

But as the crew was rampaging through “Put it in the Dumpsta” I checked the time and realized it was time to see an old friend.  Walter Payton, Jazz Bassist extraordinaire, music education giant of New Orleans, father of trumpet star Nicholas Payton, and longtime stalwart of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, was playing with his group, Snap Ppeas and Gumbo File, at the Economy Hall Tent.  The Economy Hall tent is one of three Jazz stages at Jazzfest, the stage representing traditional, New Orleans Jazz.  I had the pleasure of making friends with Walter on my first trip to New Orleans in 1999, and always try to get out and see him at Fest.  This was especially important this year as he had a stroke at the beginning of the year, so I really wanted to see him.  And it was tough. The musicianship was great, he had some tremendous folks playing with him, including guitar wizard June Yamagishi (from Papa Grows Funk, among other things) and a couple great singers and dancers.  But he wasn’t nearly as gregarious as previous years, one could tell he wasn’t quite recovered from the stroke and it made me quite sad.  When I spoke with one of the staff of Preservation Hall about Walter on Monday, she and I both started to tear up as she talked to me about him not wanting to slow down, wanting to keep going and pushing himself a little too hard to get back.  I made her promise to tell him I send my best and she did.  It’s a sad thing to see good people not quite at their best.  Here’s hoping for a continued speedy recovery, Walter.  The music world, and really the whole world needs you better.  Readers, if you’re not sure you agree, check out this great video of Walter singing the Louis Armstrong classic, “Shimmy Like My Sister Kate”

Mardi Gras Indian (Photo by Mica Lawson)

Mardi Gras Indian (Photo by Mica Lawson)

Having a bit of time to kill before Dr. Klaw, my next must see, I headed over to catch Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes and the Louisiana Sunspots over at the Congo Square stage.  On the way, I got caught in some second line fun with some Mardi Gras Indians and the Paulin Brothers Brass Band.  Oh yeah, if ten stages of unbelievable music isn’t enough for you, there are often Brass Bands and Mardi Gras Indians parading through the fairgrounds at random times.

Paulin Brothers Brass Band (Photo by Maitri)

Paulin Brothers Brass Band (Photo by Maitri)

So after waving around a napkin and shaking it with the Paulin Brothers Brass Band, who were just great, went off to see Sunpie.  Sunpie is impressive, multi instrumentalist, great singer, and a big presence.  He apparently used to play football, he’s a tall dude.  He’s also all over the place, playing WWOZ’s piano night, playing with his own band, later on that weekend with the Mardi Gras Indians Orchestra, and on the awesome new Ensemble Fatien disc.  I was looking forward to catching him and the Sunspots later that night at the Mid City Lanes annual Legends of Zydeco show, but wanted to catch a peek now.  He didn’t disappoint, romping through Louis Jordan’s “Choo Choo Ch’boogie” and a couple others before I danced my way back to the Jazz and Heritage Stage for Dr. Klaw.  Some really great accordion work, and that band is awful tight.

Alright Dr. Klaw!  Dr. Klaw is one of these bands that only exists in a few places like Jazz Fest and Jam Cruise, a mutant mash up of Chapter 2, represented by Eric Krasno on guitar and some vocals, Adam Deitch on drums, and Nigel Hall on Keys and vocals, and Dumpstaphunk, represented by Nick Daniels on bass and lead vocals and Ian Neville on guitar.  It was kinda weird to see a guitar based band at the Jazz and Heritage stage, but I didn’t mind it.  These guys were fantastic- Nick Daniels syncing up with Adam Deitch for some sick grooves, Eric Krasno letting it out and singing it out a lil bit, and Nigel laying down some tasty stuff on the keys.  Ian was good too, but seemed content to let Kras take the lead.  Ivan Neville was on the side of the stage most of the set, grooving and possibly chomping at the bit to get in the mix, but didn’t end up stepping in.  My personal highlight was Nick Daniels and Nigel Hall sharing vocals on a tasty as hell version of “Higher Ground” by Stevie Wonder.  It’s only halfway through Day 1 at the Fairgrounds, and I already got a “best covers of 2010” list brewing in my head.  The fellas headed into Nigel Hall’s “Leave Me Alone” but not being in the mood to hear that particular track, I bounded towards the track side of the Congo Square stage to get a good spot for the Soul Rebels Brass Band.

Soul Rebel Brass Band

Soul Rebel Brass Band

The Soul Rebels are one of New Orleans’ many great second generation Brass Band outfits.  I say second generation because you have older guard groups like the Treme Brass Band, the Paulin Brothers, and then, starting with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and of course, the mighty Rebirth Brass Band, you have a second wave of brass bands that combine the traditional music with Funk, R&B, Rock, and Hip Hop to make more contemporary flavored music.  The Soul Rebels have been around at least sixteen or seventeen years.  I got down with their groove for a bit before chatting a little with some folks that were set up near me, including a woman who asked me if I spoke Hebrew (in Hebrew).  Ah, the surprises of wearing a Hebrew letter Yankees hat to Jazz Fest.  She let me know there were actually a lot of Yids and Israelis at Jazz Fest, and that I should look out for the Krewe at, what else, the Israeli flag by Acura.

Someone bumps into me and it’s KD! KD is the person that finally went to Fest in 2007 and inspired me to get off my tuchus and go there, and she’s just good people.  Starting last year, she’s been “living the dream” and spending 12 days in New Orleans for Fest.  We catch up, she tells me where she’s been, who she’s been seeing and how she’s doing.  We both grumble at the mediocre hip hop stuff that’s entered the Soul Rebels set.  I’m sorry y’all, I’m from New York and I take Hip Hop seriously, so I’m kinda tough on folks dropping random things in.  Y’all wouldn’t like it if Talib Kweli picked up a saxophone and started half ass-ing “Do Whatcha Wanna” either.  Glad to see KD but feeling like a different energy, we hug and part ways, and I head back to the Jazz and Heritage stage to catch 101 Runners.

101 Runner (Photo by Kaarin Tisue)

101 Runner (Photo by Kaarin Tisue)

MAN!  What a difference!  These guys are pouring it out there, goin nuts over “Shallow Water” and whipping the crowd into a frenzy.  I have to say, watching people discover this stage is a favorite of mine.  People don’t know what to make of the Mardi Gras Indians groups but they get into them pretty quickly with their incredibly funky grooves and their catchy call and response melodies.  Perfect.  Off to snag a Loretta’s Praline and get a decent spot for Elvis Costello at the Gentilly Stage.  Well, I didn’t head over soon enough, because I can hear strains of a killer version of “Hey, You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away” wafting skyward as I approach.  The lawn is packed, no good spot for me.  I unfold the chair and grab a seat.

Elvis Costello @ Jazzfest 2010

Elvis Costello @ Jazzfest 2010

He’s performing some great stuff, and the local crowd has some real love for him as he’s been around the city post federal flood.  Does a few more great tunes I don’t know (I must confess to not knowing his catalog super well) and it’s great stuff… but for some reason, my soul is not there.  This is one thing that’s difficult to manage about Jazzfest- restless ears.  There’s so much good stuff happening at any one moment that it’s tough to stay in one place if you’re not feeling it.  So even though this was my first time seeing Elvis Costello, and even though he was great, and even though my friends reading this will probably smack me for saying this… I left Gentilly to end my day at another tent.

On my way to the main gate, I passed the Economy Hall tent, where there was a great tribute to Louis Prima happening, as part of the celebration of his 100th birthday.  One of Prima’s guitar players, Bobby Lonero, was leading a great band in a set of Prima classics.  Who could go wrong?  Great mash up of When You’re Smiling into Oh Marie, and then, when they asked the crowd for a request, everyone yelled for Just a Gigolo.  For those who don’t know, the David Lee Roth version was ripped off essentially note for note from Louis Prima’s arrangement.  Don’t believe me? Check this out:

John Popper @ Jazz Fet 2010

John Popper @ Jazz Fet 2010

Except Roth, the nice Jewish boy, leaves off my favorite part, when Prima is saying nobody/no one in multiple languages, including Yiddish at the end.  In any case, the band is doing a fantastic version of it, and while I know they’re doing a tribute, it’s putting a big smile on my face.  After they finish it, the band starts into “I’m Leaving You” Prima’s last song before he went into a coma and later passed, and not in a place to be down, I head towards the Blues tent where John Popper and the gents from Blues Traveler are closing out the day.  The harmonica work is great, and they launch into a great version of Sublime’s “What I Got” which is a great way to end the first day at the fairgrounds.  But, as you know from the previous post, this is not the end of the action, but merely half time, as it’s only 7pm and there will be music happening until sunrise tonight!

Upperline, NOLA

Upperline, NOLA

On the long walk to my rental car, I realize this is the only day I’ll be able to hit Upperline, an insanely delicious restaurant hidden between the garden district and the Tulane campus.  Not wanting to wait another year to have their insanely good Roast Duck with Garlic Port sauce, on a whim, I call to see if they have room for one.  If I can get there by 8pm, there’s a small table I can sneak into for an hour.  PERFECT!

The Monsters of Zydeco (nb, Mid City, y’all should really call it that next year) doesn’t start till 9ish, M’s flight lands at 10, delicious dinner, half hour of music, get M, 4 more hours of music.  Done!  I fly across town and, using my handy map (remember those, people? Who needs a GPS when you can read a freaking map!?!), and in 25 minutes, I go from Fairgrounds traffic to Upperline deliciousness.  As I sit down and order, I notice an African American gentleman heading towards the… holy crap, it’s DIESEL!  Karl Denson is playing a late show at Tipitina’s with his solo band, the Tiny Universe, and he apparently made time for one of New Orleans’ best restaurants as well. Yep, 2 out of 2 funky sax players agree, Upperline is the place to be.  I tuck in to my roast duck with praline pecan yams and, MAN, I am a happy camper.  Except when I look at my phone and find out that M’s flight, after first text that they were boarded and ready to go, is delayed.  NO!  Just so y’all know, M is my wife of 2 years, and one of the first things we’ve bonded over is Zydeco music.  Since the inception of the Monsters of Zydeco show in 08, I’ve been dying for her to get to Fest in time to see this show.  Sated and pleased with the meal but grumpy about the news, I make my way to Mid City Lanes.

Night Show review: Legends of Zydeco, Mid City Lanes, Thursday, 4/29.

Rock'N'Bowl, NOLA

Rock'N'Bowl, NOLA

I’ve been to the first two Monsters of Zydeco shows, and it’s pretty much all you could ask for in an all star show.  Four or Five of the very best artists in a style of music, playing full hour plus sets with their bands AND everyone is sitting in with each other as well.  Imagine four of your favorite rock bands getting together and doing something like that.  Awesome, right?  Except, this ACTUALLY happens at Rock’N’Bowl each year, unlike the all star concert in your head.

This show, as it was the last two years, is an absolute blast.  When you have Buckwheat Zydeco, CJ Chenier, Sunpie Barnes, Nathan Williams of Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas, and old school Zydeco legend Clayton Sampy rocking out together, with zydeco and blues guitar master L’il Buck Sinegal leading the band, you know it’s gonna be a good party.  Sunpie was serving as the MC of the evening and doing a great job introducing everyone.  It seems that in Zydeco, there’s a lot of love to go around with all the musicians involved, and it certainly comes to the forefront on a night like this.

This year, while players were moving in and out, it was mostly Buckwheat’s band that formed a house band, with L’il Buck at the helm, and man, were they on it.  The people were on it, too, as the floor filled up with swingers and two steppers the second Sampy got it started.  I’ve been in Pantera and Primus mosh pits, and I can tell you it gets a little dangerous on the dance floor at Zydeco night at the Rock’N’Bowl.  Sampy played some great French language old school classics and the people were really feeling it.

Next up, Nathan Williams took a turn and he mixed a little more English into the songs and things got a bit more contemporary, there was the start of the mix of classic Zydeco and R&B, with Nathan leading the band in a rousing cover of “Hey Hey Hey Hey!” Nathan also put on quite a show, getting down on his knees at the front of the stage (he came right over to me several times, which was awesome) and hopping off the stage to play in the crowd.  Want some Zydeco..take a listen…

CJ Chenier

CJ Chenier

The sets were a good hour or so, and the set breaks were pretty short as they kept rotating in players.  Next up was Sunpie, and I was psyched to see the man take a turn- he got a serious groove going the dance floor was a frenzy!  Too bad I wasn’t getting to frenzy, thanks to the fools that delayed M’s flight… but wait, the phone’s ringing!  Hooray! M’s landed, and after Sunpie’s second song ends, I sprint to the car to go get her.  She hops in and we drive right back to the show as quick as possible.  We missed the end of Sunpie’s set, but CJ Chenier is getting started, and man, that guy can play. But hell, they all can play.  And while the other leaders/bands are coming on, everyone else stays and listens, and takes their cher out on the dance floor.  M and I would bump into CJ later on the floor during Buckwheat’s set.  CJ is going bananas, as is the band and the rest of the place.  CJ plays a good hour, dropping Hot Tamale Baby on us, and M and I twirl around the dance floor while trying not to get elbowed or body checked by another dancing couple.

Buckwheat Zydeco

Buckwheat Zydeco

We hit the set break, grab a drink, sit by an empty bowling alley and relax for a minute.  I find out that M is a complete trooper, having been up till 2 packing, gotten up at 6 and is still standing now and waiting for Buckwheat to come out.  What can I say, the girl loves her some Zydeco.  And Buckwheat didn’t disappoint.  We were especially psyched to cheer when the introduction of Buckwheat was no longer just about his Grammy nominations, but as a Grammy Winner!  Buckwheat burns immediately into “Whatcha Gonna Do?” and the place is going crazy.  CJ is dancing with someone and has a huge grin on his face.  Sunpie is out dancing too.  It’s fantastic- everyone is dancing, smiling and having a ball.  It’s Jazz Fest.  As the show winds down to a close, John Blanchard, Mid City Lanes Owner, asks everyone to clear a path, and one of the bartenders does ten or so back flips in a row!  Insane!  As the band is packing up, Sunpie decides we haven’t gotten enough, so he gives us a little Lagniappe (something extra) by firing up his accordion and singing some more.  CJ Chenier sits down at the organ to join him but for the first couple of minutes there’s no power, which Sunpie found out the hard way when he said “you got it, CJ” to give him a solo, and CJ yells (no mic, but audibly) “got what, I ain’t got nothin!” but finally the power gets back on and a washboard player jumps on stage, and they gave us another half hour of music!

Again, this is exactly what you want your All Star shows to be like- everyone doin their own thing and also doing it together.  For nearly six hours.  Yeah You Right!

I drove us back to our buddy’s spot, quieted the very energetic dog and helped M into bed.  After considering joining LB at Tips for KDTU’s show, I decided Fest is a marathon and I have many late nights still to go, so I climbed into bed with my baby at 3am instead of going back out- though not before predicting to LB that Robert Walter would sit in with KDTU that night and asking her not to tell me about it till the next day.  With my sweetie in town, and her fam due in the next day, and the alarm clock going off in 6.5 hours, Friday is going to be a fun day…

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