March 2, 2012
Bowlive Night 3
The Brooklyn Bowl was transformed from a guitar god’s wet dream from the previous two nights to a world of funk and Beatle Mania last night. Soulive members, the rhythmic Evans brothers Neal and Alan and guitarist Eric Krasno delivered us a funk-filled, Beatle mania style evening for their third night of their run at the Brooklyn Bowl. The previous two evenings, the trio infused their sounds with special guest southern slide guitarist Luther Dickinson and jazz great John Scofield. Last 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 organ play and Alan Evans slammed his drums with ferocity. 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 Karl 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. 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. 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 WuTang 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! Before Beatle Mania could kick off the second 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. 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. 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 keyboards 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. 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. Bowlive III has now brought us jazz, soul, psychedelic rock, New Orleans funk, hip-hop and southern-style blues in only three nights. This evening, the party will continue with Karl Denson continuing on for his second night and Jennifer Hartswick (Trey Anastasio Band) joining with her funky trumpet and soulful voice. - Written by Karen E. Dugan - Photos courtesy of Phrazz [[Picture 1]] [[Picture 2]]
February 29, 2012
Bowlive Night 1
Well, what else can be said about the first night of the Bowlive run other than what an epic start to this monumental run of shows! Also, is there any better place to spend 10 days seeing shows than the Brooklyn Bowl? What an amazing venue! If you haven't been there we highly suggest seeking it out. First off, the food at the Brooklyn Bowl, brought to you courtesy of Blue Ribbon is nothing short of phenomenal, they have some of the best fried chicken that I have ever had, and for a guy that makes a pilgrimage to Gus's Fried Chicken Shack in Memphis every year, that says a lot. Next there is the bowling, which is quite an experience unto itself, definitely one of the best looking "bowling alleys" I've ever seen! And of course, there's the music, which after all, is what we are all after right? The set started off with just the Soulive guys delivering some classic organ driven funk. Then came John Scofield, to say this guy is a genius is an understatement. The way he effortlessly plays some of the most amazing guitar solos I've ever seen is just mind boggling. The second set featured Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars and Black Crowes, and totally shifted gears into a deep swampy rock and roll session, featuring some amazing covers, like "Hear my Train a Comin" with Luther taking the lead vocals. The entire second set saw Luther and Eric trading licks and dueling guitar solos. To see these two guys on stage clearly enjoying each others talents and company was simply awesome! We can't wait to do it all over again tonight, hope you all enjoy it as much as we do!
August 17, 2011
STS9 Live at Red Rocks
The time of year has come again for STS9’s annual stop at the famed Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Since their first performance in 2003, the band has made Red Rocks a home away from home having played the venue over 10 times now with a total supporting cast of nearly 30 cutting edge acts in their prime sharing the stage with them through the years. In that time, they’ve been joined at Red Rocks by a plethora of music legends from Thievery Corporation, Jurrassic 5, Pretty Lights, Bassnectar, Talib Kweli, The Glitch Mob, Ghostland Observatory and more. Every show at Red Rocks with STS9 is an event, full of surprises, musically and visually.
February 23, 2011
Galactic Brings the Funk to Florida
It's clear that it is going to be a big year for the New Orleans group, Galactic, who played at the Freebird Live on January 19th featuring Corey Glover ( leads singer of Living Colour) and Corey Henrey (Rebirth Brass Band) in Jacksonville, Florida. With the release of their highly anticipated new album, "Ya-Ka-May" on Febuary 9th, the NOLA boys brought the much-needed heat back to Florida featuring tracks off their new album with their two set show.
February 22, 2011
Review of Tricky
The Unmistakable Cloud of Trip-Hop Whispers and 808's. (Tricky plays NYC, December 2010) by: Jon-Carlos Evans Heart beat. Bass drop. Heart beat . . .