Bowlive III: Night One 2.28.12
Words By Karen Dugan (www.tinyrager.com)
Photos By Phrazz
Happy Bowlive New York City! Faithful fans of Soulive descend upon the Brooklyn Bowl, one of Brooklyn’s premier music venues, last night for the first night of the highly anticipated ten-night run BOWLIVE III.
In previous years, Bowlive audiences have had the pleasure of witnessing diverse line-ups of well-known and up and coming musicians, taking their turn on stage with guitarist Eric Krasno, organist Neal Evans and drummer Alan Evans, the soulful trio who inspire these ten nights of musical magic. Bowlive III will be 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 are added continuously over the run so keep those eyes (and ears) open.
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 statted 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.
John Scofield, one of America’s greatest Jazz guitarists and composers, was the first guest to appear on stage this year. Joining the trio on the third song, “Tabasco,” a Scofield original, Krazno and Scofield immediately engaged in each other. A Billy Cobham cover, “Red Baron,” followed allowing for each musician on stage to throw down some lightening rod solos. Scofield’s time on stage brought a range of psychedelic jamming and jazz infusion to the trio’s sound that only Scofield can help create.
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.” Next, Hall took to the microphone and delivered 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. “Boozer,” another Scofield original, ended the KILLER first set with Scofield thanking Soulive for allowing him to join the party and calling Hall a “genius.” 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.
When slide guitarist Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi All stars) joined the stage, all hell broke loose. 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. 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.
The wonderful Alan Evans was left alone the stage for an isolated drum solo lit by a single house light. His serious composer throughout the evening provided the foundation for all this musical majesty to take place. Neal Evans’ organ play was intense 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.
When they broke into “Hear My Train” by Jimi Hendrix, the rage that ensued both on stage and in the audience was palpable. “Do you see what is happening on stage?” was a common statement that could be heard throughout the night. 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.
Bowlive III has begun New York! We can only hope that you can handle it because after the freight train of rage that was released last night; there will 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 you will enjoy in the coming weeks will far surpass many musical runs you have experienced.