The Fox Theatre
Words & Photos By Nicholas Stock
Soulive is a classic soul-jazz, funk instrumental outfit hailing from upstate New York. Their sound is from a bygone era with a power and ferocity that can’t help but turn heads. I caught them way back in my early days in the scene, but have not seen them live for over five years. When I heard about their Snowlive run at The Fox, which included sit-ins from JJ Grey, Jonathan Stewart, Jon Grey and Jennifer Hartswick as well as workshops in the afternoons, I knew I had to catch at least one night. The Snowlive run, which continues in Lake Tahoe this weekend was jam-packed with music and information. Sunday’s show was a solo performance that ended with their highly touted Rubber Soulive set that was comprised of selections from The Beatles.
The atmosphere in the room when I arrived was casual. By the time Soulive took the stage the room was loosely packed, but most definitely full. The range in the crowd was incredibly diverse; everyone from the bubbly college girl to the salt-and-pepper hardcore jazz fan was in attendance. I got the setlist from the sound guy, but I know it is not 100% correct.
SET I: The Swamp, Turn, uncle, Nubian Lady, Bubble, Flurries, One In 7
SET II: Drive My Car, Revolution, In My Life, Come Together, Something, Get Back, Eleanor Rigby, I Want You
ENCORE: El Ron
Excited fans began shouting out their favorites and the band indulged them. This was the vibe, like a chill jam session, but if you know anything about Soulive you know their delivery is anything but chill. Alan Evans can only be described as authoritative on the kit. His driving bass drum set the path for their heavy-handed funk. Brother Neal Evans is absolutely mesmerizing on the organ with nimble fingers and true sense of timing. Eric Krasno goes from beautifully subtle to face melting solos with the hit of Alan's snare. Their first set was a perfect demonstration of their characteristic sound and the dynamic range of their performances. I was thrilled with their first set as it reminded me why I got into this band so many years ago. They exude pure energy and give raw funk a proper representation.
The Rubber Soulive set was a new experience in the traditional packaging of this stellar band. Krasno’s guitar took the place of vocals on many of the Beatles tunes as the Evans brothers laid down some serious rhythms. Their take on these well-known tunes was like giving the Beatles a funky enema. Highlights included an explosive version of "Come Together" and an amazing "Get Back." The crowd sang quietly as Soulive ripped these songs a new one quite literally. I found myself grooving pretty hard and felt like I had found a long lost memory. I knew that Soulive had the right stuff but this show was like rediscovering something I had lost. This trio from New York just kills it live and I was incredibly happy that I gave them another look after so many years. They did not disappoint. As I walked out in the cool night air, the snow was beginning to fall on Boulder and I knew I had witnessed something special. The end of the Snowlive run in Colorado left me stoked and ready to see them the next time they make it out to the Front Range. You should too.
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