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Bowlive III: Night Ten – Finale Recap for Soulive w/ Ledisi, Derek Trucks and The London Souls ~ Extended Review + Media (03.10.12)

After nine nights of warming up, Soulive members Eric KransoNeal Evans and Alan Evans tore the roof off the Brooklyn Bowl Saturday night for the final night of their 3rd annual ten-night residency, Bowlive. Over the course of the last two weeks, Soulive presented their audience with talented guests from across the musical spectrum. Virtuoso guitarists such as jazz legend John Scofield, southern blues rocker Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars), and the hard-bopping Warner Brothers artist Mark Whitfield created slaying duets with guitarist Eric Krasno. Renowned bassists Oteil Burbridge (The Allman Brothers Band) and George Porter, Jr. (The Meters) rocked the stage, adding to the cool bass keys Neal Evans plays so strikingly. Hip-hop drummer ?uestlove (The Roots), experimental percussionist Billy Martin (MMW) and world beat drummer Luke Quaranta took their turns leading the rhythm when the smoother than smooth Soulive drummer Alan Evans stepped aside to play rhythm guitar.

Guest vocalists Nigel Hall, Allen Stone, Jennifer Hartswick and Alecia Chakour brought their own style of strength and soul to the mic, Citizen Cope and Alice Smith sang an eclectic mix of blues, laid-back rock and folk while Rhazel and Ledisi delivered beat boxing and R&B/Soul into the eager ears of their audience. As well, for two night and two full sets, Royal Family recordings artists Lettuce, consisting of guitarist Adam Smirnoff, drummer Adam Deitch (Break Science), bassist ED “Jesus” Coomes, and The Bowlive horns, seared the stage with their urban funk flavor.

The Bowlive Horns, consisting of saxophonist James Casey, trumpeters Eric Bloom and Matt Owens and tenor saxophonist Ryan Zoidis were joined over the course of the run by numerous big name brass players.  Trombonist Sam “Big Sam” Williams (Big Sam’s Funky Nation), flautist/saxophonist Karl Denson (Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe), trumpeters Rashawn Ross (Dave Matthews Band) and Jennifer Hartswick, flautist Kofi Burbrudge (Derek Trucks Band) and wild improvisational saxophonist Skerik, rotated throughout the ten nights creating one of the sickest brass ensembles some have ever seen.

Other surprise guests included virtuoso pianist Eldar and organist Mitch Chakour while DJ Wyllys spun the ones and twos in between the weekend sets. When Soulive didn’t open the show themselves, the one man band, Zach Deputy, Royal Family recording artists The Nigel Hall Band, The Alecia Chakour Band and The London Souls amped the energy of the evening before Soulive took over to lay devastation upon the stage. It has been a two week rage of full on face melting, mind warping, soul filling, gut busting musicianship that accelerated with power each night and with audience members wondering how it could be topped.

Saturday night was the tenth and last night of Bowlive III. The audience, clad in white outfits for the evening’s White-Out Party theme, could be heard whispering their ideas of who the special guests might be. The London Souls, Ledisi and The Royal Family All-Stars were billed which could only mean that a surprise that couldn’t be named was being prepared.

The London Souls opened the evening with their Hendrix-style rock and roll sound. It is quite impossible to remain calm when guitarist Tash Neal, bassist Stu Mahan, and drummer Chris St. Hilaire are slamming away on their instruments.  The perfect opening for the end of a great run.

Soulive’s set started off with the super horn heavy, high-energy “El Ron”  However, during “Upright,” some unexpected technical difficulty occurred.  What could have been a rough moment turned into something special. There was three minutes where Alan Evans and his team worked at lightning speed to repair a broken drum head while the remaining members on stage worked together to keep the audience engaged. The audience clapped and cheered, supporting their favorite trio because there was importance in this moment. The band’s talent was exposed so much more during this time as they kept it together. The power from the applause in the audience when Evans’ silver shimmering drum kit was finally lifted in the air and put back in place was outstanding. It was a killer moment in rock n roll, a killer moment in Bowlive History. The trio ripped into the end of “Upright” and kept the momentum UP, UP, UP! They rolled through “Tuesday Night Squad” and Nigel Hall sang on the lively “Too Much” and the beautifully arranged “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” by Tears For Fears that segued into Bobby Caldwell’s “Open Your Eyes.”

When Ledisi was brought back on stage for the second night, the crowd exploded. Her R&B flavor had brought such joy to the previous night’s performance and we wanted more. Singing “Love Never Changes” off her Turn Me Loose album, Ledisi unleashed her massively powerful voice upon the audience. Her range and strength were unbelievable as she swiftly scatted her way through “Them Changes,” a Buddy Miles cover off of Jimi Hendrix’s Band of Gypsys. Tash Neal also performed on this song where he and Krasno playfully raged a duet to end the set.

The second set began as multiple white balloons were tossed out into the audience while Soulive played “One in Seven.” The second technical difficulty of the night occurred as Neal Evans’ clavinet finally gave way after nine nights of solid pounding. Not to miss a beat, Alan Evans began jamming on his kit, delivering a tight an extended drum solo as the back line team fixed the issue.  It was then time for some Beatles love as they played an electric run of “Eleanor Rigby,” “She’s So Heavy” and “Get Back.”

Finally, the last surprise guest of this amazing musical journey was invited on the stage. Southern rock, slide guitarist Derek Trucks (The Allman Brothers Band) walked out on stage with Nigel Hall and Ledisi to perform Sam Cooke’s Civil Rights Era anthem “A Change Gonna Come,”. It was no wonder that while Ledisi and Hall sang with all their passion and Derek Trucks made his guitar cry, audience members began to weep where they stood. The meaning and epic delivery of this song wasn’t lost on a single soul. Soulive flipped the emotional script by following Cooke’s song with the raging Jimi Hendrix’s tune, “Manic Depression!” Derek Trucks, Eric Krasno, Neal Evans and Alan Evans delivered a sick rendition of the song with Trucks and Krasno playing off each other and Trucks taking a ripping solo to end the set.

Before the encore, Brooklyn Bowl owner, Pete Shapiro, came on stage with Rosemary and Lavender plants in his hands. He explained that everyone on the floor was to take a piece of the plants being passed around the audience in hopes that the aroma therapy would help us gather our strength for one last song. Ending their epic ten night run the way they began, our favorite trio, just the three of them, took the stage for “Aladdin.”

Bowlive III is now over, leaving some New Yorkers wondering what to do with themselves.  For two weeks, dedicated fans came to the Brooklyn Bowl to see Neal Evans, Alan Evans and Eric Krasno play their hearts out, touching on every musical genre and playing with many of Americas most talented musicians. Let us give thanks to Soulive for the dedication to their craft and their ability to express it through the creative outlet that is Bowlive. Thanks for their want to educate us on new talent, their need to put new twists on old classics, and their determination to raise the bar each and every night.

Let us give thanks to The Brooklyn Bowl, because without them there would be no Bowlive. Thanks for their wonderful environment, staff and treatment.  For the last 2 weeks the Brooklyn Bowl has been our community’s second home. We’ve feasted on their fantastic Blue Ribbon cuisine, felt at home on their plush leather couches and enjoyed their attentive staff.   Soulive + The Brooklyn Bowl = Bowlive and don’t you forget it!

A change has come to New York City. A change has come to the music community.  Soulive has created something so special in Bowlive.  There is nothing else like it in our scene and it’s through that unique way of doing things that Soulive will remain one of the most influential groups in our music community. Bowlive is the development of a passionate dream that is now reality. After three years, Bowlive is no-doubt a game changer in the music community and will continue to be for many years to come. Thank you Soulive!

 Karen E. Dugan
– Photo courtesy of Phrazz

Youtube Videos

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Bowlive III: Night Eight – Soulive w/ George Porter Jr., Zach Deputy, Citizen Cope and Alice Smith ~ Extended Review + Media (03.08.12)

For the eighth night, Soulive members, Eric Krasno, Alan Evans and Neal Evans, performed at the Brooklyn Bowl for their annual residency, Bowlive.  In its third year, Bowlive has become one of the most interesting, engaging, educational and smoking residencies in New York City. There are some, who might argue, in America. Each night has gotten heavier, deeper, tighter, and energetically more invested with each guest who joins the stage to breath more life into the already amazing trio.

The Alecia Chakour Band opened last night to a huge crowd. Chakour joined the Bowlive rooster last year.  In the masculine crew that makes up the artists on the Royal Family Records Label, Alecia Chakour is a breath of fresh female energy. With a voice and range as powerful as Aretha Franklin, Chakour rightful deserves to be on stage with the talented musicians who make up Soulive. Chakour’s band members consisted of trumpeter Igmar Thomas (The Cypher), organist Neal Evans (Soulive), bassist and brother Alex Chakour, drummer Miles Arntzen (Antibalas), guitarist Sam Cohen (Apollo Sunshine), and saxophonist James Casey (6figures).  A highlight was when surprise guest artist Kofi Burbridge (The Derek Trucks band) lent his fluttering flute to the bunch on their new tune, “Surely.” The Alecia Chakour Band is a sick, tight, funky crew who fit right into the rotation of amazing acts that we have so far seen over the two week run.

Soulive members (guitarist Eric Krasno and soul brothers Alan Evans on drums and Neal Evans on clavinet) welcomed numerous guests on stage last night, some announced and some a surprise. This is always to be expected and they never disappoint. “Steppin” was the only song Soulive ever stood alone on stage for. After that, the flood gates opened with Kofi Burbridge jumping in on “El Ron” with the Bowlive Horns: saxophonist James Casey, trumpeter Eric Bloom and tenor saxophonist Ryan Zoidis. Special guest and Brooklyn resident Citizen Cope was next to join the stage to perform his original “Bullet and a Target,” and “Something to Believe In.” Cope’s raw, uncommon chords and proactive lyrics have been recognized and covered by likes of Carlos Santana, Dido, Sheryl Crow and Slipknot. His vocals transformed the bowl into a new vibe, a slower yet passionate part of the set. Alice Smith, the second vocalist billed that night, joined for Cope’s last tunes, “Ain’t Gonna Stand for It” and “107 Degrees.” Alice Smith’s voice melded beautifully with Cope’s the same way that Alecia Chakour’s voice melds perfectly with Nigel Halls. She is aggressive, serious, powerful, and passionate with a 4-octave vocal range and stunning stage presence. Cope exited the stage and Alice Smith, with the Soulive trio backing her, performed Cee Lo Green’s, “Fool For You.” The Bowlive Horns helped closed out the set with “Tuesday Night Squad,”as trumpeter Eric Bloom’s excitement spilled out of his animated solo and Nigel Hall took over the keys.

The second set was dedicated exclusively to the musical power of New Orleans yet contained special guests of varying styles. This was definitely one of the best sets of the entire run. Special guests, world renowned New Orleans bassist George Porter, Jr. (The Meters), drummer ?uestlove (The Roots), Billy Martin (Martin, Medeski and Wood), flautistKofi Burbridge and saxophonist Skerik, out for his third night, piled on stage with Soulive and the Bowlive horns. Covering New Orleans and Meters favorites “Just Kissed My Baby, “Hey Pocky Way,” “Come Fly with Me,” and “Funkify Your Life,” the musical entourage on stage was the definition of a Jam Room. George Porter, Jr. brought such life to the younger musicians who were surrounding him. Each artist took their turn power housing their instruments because Porter believes in the journey of the song and allowing it to unfold, which is exactly what happened on “Africa,” when Skerik took his solo and the classic song turned into a completely different creature.

Experimental jazz percussionist Billy Martin was left to his own devices with a pile of instruments to create sounds with after drumming for “Hey Pokey Way.” Martin is the drumming member of his own jazz, funk trio so his addition to Soulive allowed for experimental sounds that enhanced the layers of the music. “Everything is Everything” closed the set with Nigel Hall on vocals and another night of Bowlive ended, this time without and encore.  ?uestlove’s Bowl Train DJ set saw out the rest of  the night and everyone danced their way through funky, old skool tunes until their weary bodies said enough.


It’s unbelievable to think that the members of Soulive have been going full speed for eight crazy nights. What a testament to their level of stamina, creativity, and their ability to surprise and entice their audience.  For those who can’t make the last two nights, check out the live feed on iClips.net. For those of you with the ability to make it this weekend, you won’t be disappointed. Continuing his New Orleans flavor from last night, special guest George Porter Jr. will be joined by Ledisi with Nigel Hall and Alecia Chakour opening. We can only speculate who the surprise guests will be, but you can be sure they will bring in Bowlive’s final weekend in FULL RAGE!!!

BUY SINGLE DAY TICKETS NOW!
Can’t make the LIVE RAGE? Stream It on iClips.net!

 Karen E. Dugan
– Photo courtesy of Phrazz

Youtube Videos

Soulive feat. Citizen Cope – “Bullet & a Target” : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoFGGhF_z2s

Soulive feat. George Porter & Nigel Hall – “Come Fly Away” : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azUKgsH7ztY

Soulive feat Alice Smith & Citizen Cope – “107 Degrees” : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdVFSkp-YEg

Soulive feat. George Por ter, Nigel & Kofi – “Voices Inside” : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cRBqKlyAHc

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Bowlive III: Night Seven – Soulive w/ Skerik, Kofi Burbridge & Lettuce ~ Extended Review + Media (03.07.12)

Zach Deputy opened night seven of Bowlive III with his Caribbean Ninja Soul flavor. His one-man-band sets always seem to force happiness out of the audience.  He is the purest definition of jolly as he sits behind a massive rig of equipment, creating and layering every element of his songs. Over the past two nights, Deputy has been throwing us all new tunes except for two different versions of “Lincoln Continental.” This would set a theme for a night of new tunes to be delivered by the members of Souilve, Lettuce and Alecia Chakour!

Experimental “saxophonic” saxophonist Skerik and the NY’s premiere urban funk band Lettuce continued into second night as special guests. However, following their formula of the previous week, Soulive guitarist Eric Krasno, organist Neal Evans and drummer Alan Evans initially hit the stage solo. Alan Evans dominated “Rudy’s Way” with his best drum solo of the run sending the audience UP!  A fixture of Bowlive since its inception, Kofi Burbridge of the Derek Trucks Band surprised the audience when he walked out on stage with his flute for “Cash’s Dream,” a warm, softening addition to such an organ-heavy song.

The Bowlive Horns, consisting of saxophonist James Casey (6figures), tenor saxophonist Ryan Zoidis (Lettuce), and trumpeters Eric Bloom (Diane Birch) and Rashawn Ross (The Dave Matthews Band) were next to join Soulive. Special guest Skerik completed the brass entourage and “Upright,” “Vapor” and “Flurries” delivered us a massively long horn-heavy rage. The various musicians on stage rotated solos starting with Skerik who inserted his wild element of experimental jazz while Rashawn Ross’s melting-pot experience defined his style per song. Everyone continued through the trio of songs jumping from tambourines to maracas and other various percussion instruments filling all voids with extremely tight and organized sound.  Special guest and opener Zach Deputy lead the stage for his original, “Thrill is Gone.” To see Deputy explore his guitar talents with a full band is quite a different experience. His sound completely changes because he isn’t worrying about layering the beats, the bass or the horns. The massive crew on stage closed the set with “Aladdin” and the always funky “El Ron.”

The entire Lettuce ensemble (The Bowlive Horns including Skerik, guitarists Eric Krasno and Adam Smirnoff, bassist ED “Jesus” Coomes, and drummer Adam Deitch) raged the stage for the second set kicking it off with “King of the Burgs.” Rashawn Ross lead with a killer trumpet solo while drummer Adam Deitch made his presence known after Alan Evan’s domination of the kit in the earlier set. Last night was an amazing night for drumming fans, to be sure. The funkiest band on the planet followed last night’s rage by releasing more new songs off their upcoming album to an eager, elevated crowd. On Tuesday night, we heard “Mean Fonk,” “Lettuce Play,” and the jokingly named tune “Brooklyn Bowler,” a word play on the wonderful venue housing Soulive’s ten-night residency and actually titled”Bowler,” reflecting organist Neal Evan’s signature hat. Last night the explosive audience members (and iClips.net online viewers) jumped and danced their bodies weary to new tunes, “Bump Tubby,” “Fast Kraz,” “Ghost of Jupiter,” and “New GoGo.” Alecia Chakour joined the stage for to sing the sultry “Do Ya Thing,” a first time cover for both Chakour and Lettuce. Flautist Kofi Burbridge played throughout the entire set while Skerik could be seen enjoying the set by the sound board. ED “Jesus” Coomes’ bass playing was a crucial element to the entire set as his glasses literally fogged up from the heat coming off his playing. Toubab Krewe’s Luke Quartana was back for a second night front and center on stage with his Djembe drum for “New GoGo,” while saxophonist James Caseyplayed the congas with drum sticks. Krasno was nowhere to be seen for this tune while the stage exploded into one of the sickest 11-piece percussion rages this super fan has had the privilege of watching. The amazing, soulful voice of Nigel Hall helped close the set with “Making my Way,” into a Curtis Mayfield medley of “We’re a Winner” and “Move on Up!”


Two nights into the second week and already we have had two surprise guests, Oteil and Kofi Burbridge, on top of the amazing special guests, Zach Deputy, Skierk and Lettuce. Soulive changes things up tonight with the invitation extended to Citizen Cope & Alice Smith, the legendary funk bassist George Porter, Jr. (The Meters), drummer Billy Martin (Martin, Medeski and Wood), Alecia Chakour Band, and ?uestlove (The Roots) on the 1’s and 2’s. RAGE!!

BUY SINGLE DAY TICKETS NOW!
Can’t make the LIVE RAGE? Stream It on iClips.net!

 Karen E. Dugan

YouTube Videos

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Night 6 Recap with Lettuce, Zach Deputy, Skerik, and Allen Stone :: Lettuce, Zach Deputy, and Skerik Tonight!

We have reached the second week of Soulive’s electric ten night Brooklyn Bowl Residency, Bowlive III. After two days of rest, drummer Alan Evans, organist Neal Evans and guitarist Eric Krasno were back for their sixth night, enlisting the help of guitarist Zach Deputy, vocalist Allen Stone, saxophonist Skerik and the funkiet group on the planet, Lettuce. There were also surprise sit-ins by percussionist Luke Quaranata (Toubab Krewe) and bassist Oteil Burbridge (The Allman Brothers Band). Whoa….

Last week, Soulive took on the responsibility of ripping open the stage themselves, proving that they don’t need anyone to help them stir the fire in our bellies. However, after a week of exhaustive musical deliverance, Soulive opted to let another wonderful musician lead the way with their first mid-week opener by way of Zach Deputy. Deputy describes his style as “Gospel, Ninja Soul.” He is a one-man band who sits behind a custom-made rig of electronics, computers, pedals, mics and various instruments to create a song which he delivers to the audience one layer at a time, looping his sounds to reach the end result.  The result being a complete song with beats, bass, lyrics, harmonies, and instrumental backups.  Aside from being fully invested in all aspects of his creativity, Zach Deputy is one of the kindest, accessible musicians on our scene. He adores his fans to a point that a lot of musicians do not.  Deputy spent the entire Soulive/Lettuce performance in the audience smiling and dancing away with the rest of us.

Soulive hit the stage to a sold-out venue warming up with “One in Seven” into “So Live.” Since Lettuce was in the house, Soulive invited out the horn section out for “Get Back.”  Saxophonist James Casey, tenor saxophonist Ryan “Zwad” Zoidis, and trumpeters Eric Bloom (Diane Birch) and Rashawn Ross (The Dave Matthews Band) lined up behind the trio, creating an intimidating wall of brass.  However, the audience erupted into frenzy when one of the sickest bassists on the planet, Oteil Bubridge, walked out to join the tune.  Oteil Burbridge is best known for his work with The Allman Brothers Band and his phenomenal scatting ability he delivers while playing some of the sickest bass lines you will ever hear. The addition of Oteil’s bass to the trio was a special treat. The Allman Brothers Band starts their ten-night residency at The Beacon Theater on March 9, 2012.

The deep and dirty “Hat Trick” continued with Oteil Burbridge on bass. The tight horn section became even more ridiculous with the addition of Seattle-based improvisational jazz saxophonist Skerik on “PJs”.  One name is all Skerik needs.  A founding member of such quirky jazz projects as Critters Buggin, Garage a Trois and Skerik’s Syncopated Taint Septet, his unique and wildly pioneering sound has been dubbed “saxophonics,” Skerik brought an element to the brass wall of horns that gave East Coasters a taste of that West Coast flavor.

For Granted” followed with a trumpet solo from Eric Bloom that stopped conversations and had eyes focused on the stage. Soulive then shifted gears by introducing the second Seattle-based special guest of the night, soul vocalist Allen Stone.  Our favorite trio was alone on stage to back Stone on his original “Unaware” Bowlive III audience members had not yet seen a voice of this nature on stage. Even though the energy lowered due to the softness of the song, Stone’s smooth falsetto was absolutely captivating and all eyes were on him by the time he belted out “Mary” and “Love and Happiness” to end the diverse and fulfilling musical set.

The second set was just a full rage by Lettuce, the greatest urban-flavored funk band in America.  The stage swelled as Lettuce’s horn section, comprised of saxophonist James Casey, tenor saxophonist Ryan “Zwad” Zoidis, and trumpeters Eric Bloom (Diane Birch) and Rashawn Ross (The Dave Matthews Band) came back on.  Alan Evans, who had held down the dirty drums all night, was replaced by Adam Deitch (Break Science). Krasno was joined on rhythm guitar by Adam “DJ Schmeeans” Smirnoff and energetic bassist ED “Jesus” Coomes set up center stage. Vocalist Nigel Hall grabbed the microphone and they kicked off the hot set with some love to Bootsy Collins as he shouted “We Like To Party!”  Lettuce performed tunes off their old catalog but it was when new song “Bowler” and “Madison Square” that the audience gave the most love to the artists on stage.  “Madison Square” is currently the song the NY Knicks are using as their theme song. The Brooklyn Bowl went wild as Skerik jumped in and out of songs with his wild musical antics and Luke Quaranata (Toubab Krewe) ending the set with a killer rendition of “Squad Live.”


The party continues tonight with the same special guests. And who knows, with the energy rising each night and more and more musical guests seen wandering the bowling lanes, you can be sure that more artists will be gracing the Bowlive stage then are billed.

 Karen E. Dugan

Youtube Videos

Soulive w/ Allen Stone – “Love And Happiness” : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9n8k0vkPNc

Soulive w/Allen Stone – “Mary” : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4B45uPhn_oo

Lettuce – Ryan Zoidis sax solo : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fa1i-ZUjo_g

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I had the pleasure of writing for Royal Family Records website for all ten nights for Bowlive III. So, if you care for the shorter, not so critical and emotional charged recaps, head over to RoyalFamilyRecords.com and read up there as you all know the following post will be full of extra details and a much longer recap. Available videos are linked to the song titles! With that said:

HAPPY BOWLIVE NEW YORK CITY!!

BOWLIVE RAGERS!!!  (Photo by Phrazz)

BOWLIVE RAGERS!!! (Photo by Phrazz)

I must start this recap by giving mad love to the Brooklyn Bowl.  If you have never been, what are you waiting for? Their food is killer, their big, leather couches lining the bowling lanes and open feel makes it one of the best venues in Brooklyn, if not all of NYC.  Owner, Pete Shapiro, is one of the most humble, caring, proprietors of an establishment that I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. His connections and passion to the music scene are evident as he joins the audience when amazing performances are taking place.  For an example of his kindness, Josh (My Mega Rager) and I got engaged last week in Mexico and are frequent attendees at Brooklyn Bowl performances. It is our favorite venue in the city and not just because Josh and I met there at a Karl Denson show two years ago.

Josh and I thanked Pete last night for providing us with such a great platform to meet. He bought us a bottle of champagne and we all shared a celebratory “Cheers.”  Josh and I are not drinkers but that didn’t stop the toast because when Pete Shapiro buys you a drink, you take it 🙂 I have now only seen Josh take a shot of tequila (a gift from the Brooklyn Bowl on his birthday) and now a glass of champagne.  Thanks again Pete and all the staff who run the Brooklyn Bowl for providing us such a wonderful place to engage in our musical passions, to engage with our musical family and friends and for your killer fried chicken.  As well, the addition of the hooks under the bar and upper level viewing deck did not go unnoticed and had both male and females singing the praises of having their purses and jackets now off the sticky ground 🙂  Quality upgrade!!! Now, on to the real magic.

Bowlive III – Night 1 Recap

Faithful fans of Soulive descend upon the Brooklyn Bowl, one of Brooklyn’s premier music venues, on February 28, 2012 for the first night of the highly anticipated ten-night residency, BOWLIVE III.

Faithful Fans (minus a few) (Photo by Phrazz)

Faithful Fans (minus a few) (Photo by Phrazz)

Alan Evans (Photo by Phrazz)

Alan Evans (Photo by Phrazz)

In previous years, Bowlive audiences have had the pleasure of witnessing diverse line-ups of well-known (Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, Maceo Parker) and up and coming musicians (The London Souls, Alecia Chakour and Mel Flannery), taking their turn on stage with guitarist Eric Krasno, organist and bass keys player  Neal Evans and drummer Alan Evans, the soulful trio who inspire these ten nights of musical magic. Bowlive III was no different with scheduled collaborations by Zach Deputy, Big Sam, Karl Denson, Questlove, Lettuce, Rahzel, Allen Stone, Jennifer Hartswick, and the Alecia Chakour Band. More additions were added continuously over the run so I keep my eyes (and ears) open.

Mike Gibney, The Royal Family’s announcer or HYPE BOY, if you will, came out on stage to announce the band. He is a hilarious, happy, charming, funny man who never fails to pump up the crowd with his wit and humor or hilarious Cosby Sweater-styled outfits.  Tonight, pimpin’ a nice suit, he would scream out how proud he was of himself for being “undefeated in Bowlive History!”  I had to scream “ME TOO!” as loud as I could as there are literally a handful of fans AND staff who have actually attended all ten nights the previous years. I have gone to 29 out of 30 Bowlive shows.

Straying from the formula of the past two years, Soulive hit the stage early, opting out of an opening band until the weekend performances.  The trio stated slow with the appropriate “So Live.” Their energy was calm and they warmed up nicely into the explosive “Hat Trick,” which would set the tone for the rest of the night. Opting out of an opener really placed full responsibility on the trio to ensure the energy was up, to ensure that we stayed engaged, and to ensure that they made the point that they were back!!!  Having seen these three musicians grow since 2000, there was nothing standing in their way last night.

Neal Evans (Photo by Phrazz)

Neal Evans (Photo by Phrazz)

You know when you see the same band over and over and it sometimes appears that they are going through the motions?  I have seen Soulive and its members in their various projects for over a decade now. I hold them to a very high standard as the point of all of this is growth. Growth as a band and as individual musicians.  Bowlive provides a platform for these men to expand their musical catalog by infusing their material with the styles of the special guests that join them.  Because of all these collaborations, it could be easy as the hosts to, perhaps, not invest as much power and passion into the solo songs where the trio played alone.  Of course, this is something that SHOULDN’T happen, and on this first night, it didn’t. I looked forward to watching this monster of a musical run grow beneath our feet and in front of our eyes and to watch the exposure of stamina and talent of these three musical masters were going to have to project as time goes on.

Eric Krasno (Photo by Phrazz)

Eric Krasno (Photo by Phrazz)

The Legendary John Scofield (Photo By Phrazz)

The Legendary John Scofield (Photo By Phrazz)

John “Sco” Scofield, one of America’s greatest Jazz guitarists and composers, was the first guest to appear on stage this year. I absolutely adore seeing Sco and Krasno collaborate.  Joining the trio on the third song, “Tabasco”, a Sco original, Krazno and Sco immediately engaged in each other. Coming ever so close to each other, face to face on stage, they played off each others rifts with the Evan brothers blasting their rhythms.  A Billy Cobham cover, “Red Baron,” followed allowing for each musician on stage to throw down some lightening rod solos.  Sco’s time on stage brought a range of psychedelic jamming and jazz infusion to the trio’s sound that only Sco can help create. This was an exciting show simply because of the fact that John Scofield, Eric Krasno and Luther Dickinson would all be performing together in various combinations throughout the night. For guitar loving rockers like me and every other male that was in that audience, this was FIRE!!! What a great way to start it off.

Nigel Hall (Photo by Phrazz)

Nigel Hall (Photo by Phrazz)

Nigel Hall joins Neal Evans on Keys (Photo by Phrazz)

Nigel Hall joins Neal Evans on Keys (Photo by Phrazz)

Nigel Hall (The Warren Haynes Band, Dr. Klaw) was next to join the stage, initially jumping in on the keyboards with Alan Evan during “What You See Is What You Get.”  The Nigel Hall Band actually opened almost every night during the first Bowlive in 2012. This run, however, Hall took to the microphone only once with his band to deliver the sultry, sexy Donny Hathaway cover “More Then You’ll Ever Know.” Hall’s emotional connection to this powerful ballad was evident as he melted the hearts in front of him. I watched men kiss their girls passionately, I watched bros hug it out on the main floor and I felt my own heart melt.  Hall left immediately for home after the song and I texted him to let him know that his connection was so clear to those who were paying attention.  His response: “Thank you! When you’ve been in love, you can relate.” I hoped that we would get to experience more of him during this run but at the time, nothing was scheduled. We kept those fingers crossed.

John Scofield and Soulive (Photo by Phrazz)

John Scofield and Soulive (Photo by Phrazz)

“Boozer,” another Sco original, end the KILLER first set with Sco thanking Soulive for allowing him to join the party and calling Nigel Hall a “genius.” That statement is powerful and honest and to hear it ring from Sco’s lips, I know for a fact that Nigel’s heart swelled. Mine certainly did.

Nigel Hall connecting with John Scofield (Photo by Phrazz)

Nigel Hall connecting with John Scofield (Photo by Phrazz)

After a short intermission, the Evans brothers and Krasno were back on stage, alone, performing the beautifully composed “El Ron,”  followed by a raging “One in Seven.” No special guests needed to be on stage to ensure that fire was coming off it.  The trio was living up to their responsibilities and taking the songs we have seen them play a million times and breathing fresh life and RAGE into them.

Luther and Soulive - Outstanding Performance

Luther and Soulive  (Photo by Phrazz)

Luther Dickinson (Photo by Phrazz)

Luther Dickinson (Photo by Phrazz)

When southern-style slide guitarist Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi AllStars) joined the stage, all hell broke loose.  Literally, broke shit up all over our brains and faces.  Booker T. and the MG’s cover “Hip Hug Her” started slow and simple, a playing quality that Luther Dickinson has perfected with his understated simplicity and lightening fast fingers.  Initially, after the great versions of Soulive’s original songs had just brought the energy up, Dickinson’s simplistic playing and calm warm-up seemed to bring the energy down but only for that first song. The set continued with Dickinson, Krasno and the Evan brothers elevating their quality of playing to the peak of high energy for the evening, downright melting the audience’s faces with solo after solo after solo.

Dickinson and Krasno (Photo by Phrazz)

Dickinson and Krasno (Photo by Phrazz)

At one point, the wonderful Alan Evans was left alone the stage for an isolated drum solo lit by a single house light. His serious composure throughout the evening provided the foundation for all this musical majesty to take place. Neal Evans’ organ play was deep, intense, raw and when paired with the slide guitar of Dickinson, brought Soulive’s sound to new heights. It is collaborations like these that make Bowlive so special.  How can we watch the same group for ten nights in a row and not get bored? Well, that is their job and they do their job RIGHT!

Luther and Soulive - Outstanding Performance

Luther and Soulive (Photo by Phrazz)

At times when a song is taking off, I like to take a walk through the audience and listen to them, their comments, their critics (if they know what they are talking about) and just engage in the energy around me.  When they broke into “Hear My Train” by Jimi Hendrix, the rage that ensued both on stage and in the audience was palpable. “Holy Shit” and “Do you see what is happening on stage?” were common statement that could be heard throughout the sea of heady heads. People hushed those around them talking too loud and eyes were transfixed on the stage ~ (Some might say STFUAD – Shut The F*&K Up And Dance). The foursome encored with another Hendrix song, “Stone Free,” a tight, jamming song that cemented the power of the evening and left the audience screaming with thunderous applause.

WINNING!!!!

WINNING!!!! (Photo by Phrazz)

Bowlive III had begun in New York City!!  We only prayed that we could handle it because after the freight train of rage that was released that night; there would be no stopping it. The power that slides off of these performances are unlike any regular 2-set performances you attend. The energy and collaborations that I would enjoy in the coming weeks would far surpass many musical runs I might experience.  TEN NIGHTS!!!!  That is a superb feat for any musician of ANY age to accomplish. For those of us with day jobs and for those of us expected to process material by the next morning, it’s even more of a feat. One that I have been proud to be a part of for the last two years.

Setlist Rage!

The Initial Setlist!

Download Night 1 Sound Board Audio Here!

Pictures by Phrazz

Videos by Marc Millman and mkdevo

Words by The Tiny Rager

Check out some amazing Bowlive Shots by Michael Jurick here!

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