Bowlive: Night Ten

Words By Karen Dugan (tinyrager)

Bowling is the sport most people think of when they head out to the Brooklyn Bowl. However, for the last two weeks, the Brooklyn Bowl has been the site of a marathon aka Bowlive 2011. Over the course of ten days, this musical marathon exposed hungry music lovers to over twenty-five artists such as the old school Funkateers, saxophonist Maceo Parker and keyboardist Bernie Worrell, and jazz legends like guitarist John Scofield and pianists James Hurt and Ivan Neville. Also, many were introduced to the amazing young talents such as vocalist Alicia Chakour and trumpeter Maurice Brown. We were treated to the poetry in motion of rappers WAX, Pharoah Moanch and Talib Kweli as well as the amazing musical talents of the Burbridge brothers, flautist Kofi and Bassist Oteil. Our minds were blown as horn player Karl Denson and pedal steel guitarist Robert Randolph brought the spirit of John Coltrane and Jimi Hendrix respectively to the stage for us all to climb to the highest heights of musical ecstasy. Corey Glover, Yonrico Scott and DJ Logic were all lying in the cut bringing their own flavors. Behind it all, what made this musical marathon amazing is the chemistry and talents of Eric Krasno, Neal Evans and Alan Evans...aka, the brilliant New York City Soulfunk trio Soulive.

Fittingly, The Nigel Hall Band opened the final night’s show. During Bowlive 2010, Nigel had opened each night. This year, numerous groups such as soul vocalist Alecia Chakour and the Osrahs, rockers The London Souls, rapper Wax and Grammy-winner Van Hunt shared the opening slots. Singing his signature hits, “Too Sweet,” “I’ll Never Know,” and “Gimmie A Sign,” Hall made sure to leave the slow ballads off the set list. Nigel Hall holds a special place in the Royal Family as the soulful voice that leads the way, reminiscent of Curtis Mayfield and Sam Cooke. Hall was backed by a full band and tonight and it was about energy and reaching that finish line after ten days of rage.

The three members of Soulive have truly given themselves the name that suits them perfectly. The underlying vibe in all the music seen over the past two weeks had an underlying theme, soul. When seeing artists under the Royal Family label, particularly Soulive, you are guaranteed to walk away having your spirits lifted. To see the three members of Soulive on stage by themselves is in many ways the best part of Bowlive. The vision of these three musicians and their combined talents are what make the foundation for this musical marathon. On this final evening, they blasted through “El Ron” and “Revolution.” Nigel Hall and Alecia Chakour came out for a charming duet on “Doing the 2.” “Upright” was great as the horns took turns melting our faces. The slow start of Krasno’s guitar introduced “Lenny” and the vibe was brought down. Sadly, special guest Matisyahu was unable to attend due to illness. Luckily, the big surprise was blues singer and harmonica player Taylor Hicks who joined the stage to add an amazing harmonica layer to the soulful music. Closing their set with Tear’s For Fear’s cover, “Everyone Wants to Rule the World,” Nigel Hall was on vocals and the musicians backed him in a lovely, heady jam.

For the encore, all of the musicians in the house got on stage. Vocalist Lanesha Randolph joined Alecia Chakour as they broke into a soulful version of “Rock Steady” that Aretha Franklin herself would have danced to all night.” Maurice Brown could be seen flipping drumsticks and his trumpet over his head and dancing unbelievably hard as the audience ate it right up.

The marathon was coming to its end but not until the Break Science set was over. The music focuses on the Royal Family’s incredibly talented drummer, Adam Deitch, playing live over mixed beats by Borham Lee. The duo invited members of The Shady Horns to the stage. Maurice Brown free styled a song on the spot he swiftly named, “I Am A Star” and Igmar Thomas soloed gorgeous trumpet play over the heavy beats.

We had come to the finish line of this musical marathon. I am sure that Eric Krasno and the Evans brothers, Neal and Alan, felt their huge victory, and one could imagine them with their hands in the air coming across the line, tape breaking across their chest. The beauty of music is that it is ever evolving and the one thing the these three men know is music. It is moments like these that make our community what it is...great music, great people, great spirits. Thank you, Soulive, for the greatest ten days of music New York City has seen in recent years.

Read Karen's Full Article on The Royal Family Blog.


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