The Fox Theatre
Words By J-man
Photos By Carly Marthis & J-man
As snow fell on Boulder, Colorado, hundreds of music fans gathered for the first night of Soulive's three night run at the Fox Theatre. The evening's attendance would be challenged by Phil Lesh & Friends, just over a few hills at The 1st Bank Center. Leading up to show time, The Fox was nearly empty with Soulive taking the stage fairly early to a half-filled venue. The band began in my favorite form, the original Soulive Trio.
Eric Krasno (Guitar), Neal Evens (Keys) and Alan Evans (Drums) dove into some old-school Soulive, exciting me from the get go. Although the band seemed to be bringing the rage on stage, those of us in the middle/back of the venue struggled to hear the music over people talking in their normal voices. The mix was extremely low and took away from a lot of the potential energy that could have further moved the crowd. On stage the trio welcomed Jennifer Hartswick, Jonathan Stewart and Jon Gray, who would act as the weekend's horn section. The dynamic between Soulive and the horns elevated the music, but failed to achieve the level of intensity and energy as the resident horn section, "The Shady Horns," typically brings to the stage.
With Soulive and the "Hartswick Horns" bringing the jazz-funk, JJ Grey took the stage. His presence on the stage was odd as he was the only one without and instrument. JJ stepped up to the mic and delivered what I felt was an unnecessary addition to the music. His singing was average and seemed to only take away from Soulive bringing it. Though I must say, the band seemed to enjoy his presence. When JJ wasn't singing, he was dancing casually and watching Soulive intently like a fan.
Two quiet sets after it began, night one was in the bag early, ending around 1:00 am. I was impressed with the music as always, but for the first time in the ten years that I have been seeing Soulive, they seemed to be going through the motions. Driving home from Boulder I looked forward to hearing Saturday and Sunday's reviews. Would Soulive have a better turn out the following night? Would Soulive turn it up?
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