Pre-show: I walk up to the Brooklyn Bowl and the crowd is walking towards me. I missed the John Legend & The Roots sold-out show because, to be honest, John Legend is not on my radar and I didn’t have a ticket for that show. I had bought tickets for The Lee Boys at least a week prior to the show… I try to pre-plan the shows when the “bands to catch” are in town. Chicks with stilettos, skirts and jewels on, the men dressed for clubbin’, boy Brooklyn was all cleaned up! I felt a bit out of my element here. Luckily this was outside the club, the minute I got inside all was fine. The Bowl is my favorite place in the city. There. I said it. It is whatever you want it to be. Tonight, after John Legend, it was chill.
Questlove was spinning when I walked in. The Lakers game was on the big screen. The place is open, space galore. I went to my spot near the bowling alleys, under the speaker and waited for my Floridian friends. Roosevelt walks by me and smiles. Ah yes, The Bowl.
Once all the gear cleared off the stage, The Lee Boys show up and play for a short set, 90 minutes or so. There is no real ramp up time, no slow moving crescendo. Within no more than 5 minutes into the first song, I knew we were in for a ride, bam! right in the face power, deep and low vibrating through your body bass, squealing steel guitar, wailing vocals. The band are the three brothers, Alvin Lee (guitar), Derrick Lee and Keith Lee (vocals) along with their three nephews, Roosevelt Collier (pedal steel guitar), Alvin Cordy Jr. (7-string bass) and Earl Walker (drums). Their style is what they call Sacred Steel, and its a pretty damn good description. With their roots in gospel, these guys take the steel guitar and just drive it DOWN.
From The Lee Boys’ website, I was able to find more information about the genre: “Sacred steel” is a type of music described as an inspired, unique form of Gospel music with a hard-driving, blues-based beat. The musical genre is rooted in Gospel, but infused with rhythm and blues, jazz, rock, funk, hip-hop, country and ideas from other nations.
Hard driving blues based beat – yeah that sums it up. My notes say words like “Frikkin hot, Roosevelt smokin’ the steel, Alvin going down on the bass.” Phewww, it was like a freight train coming right at you so fast you could feel the wind in your hair.
Partial Set List: Testify>Stevie Wonder’s Superstition (which was insanely funky, bassy, steel guitar craziness)>PFunk’s We Want The Funk (which brought the funk even lower, Mothership landing in Brooklyn kinda funky)>Superstition (oh my, hello there!)
This is my own video, it’s short, its fuzzy but the audio is fine. A little sampling to whet your whistle. See these guys. I promise you (promise you!) you won’t be disappointed.