Bowlive V, Brooklyn Bowl 2014

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Photo by: Dino Perrucci

Bowlive, Soulive’s two week residency, is ending it’s fifth year tonight at the infamous Brooklyn Bowl in Brooklyn, NY.  I have been lucky enough to be able to catch all five years, and incredibly witness how each year seemingly gets better over the last year.

This year’s special guests have ranged from Warren Haynes, John Scofield, Susan Tedeschi and New Orleans’ legends George Porter Jr. and  Jon Cleary, to lesser known 11 year old savant’s from Brendan “TAZ” Neidermeyer, Eddie Roberts, Joe Russo, DMC and Talib Kweli, Marco Benevento, Scott Metzger, Sonya Kitchell, and Nigel Hall.

Photo courtesy of: Alan Evans

Photo courtesy of: Alan Evans

The Shows: Admittedly, I have not been able to hit all the shows as I have in years past.  However, I can tell the nature of the Bowlive residency has mellowed into a well-known two weeks of throwdown funk, with surprise guests galore.  I use the word “mellowed” because the players (Neal Evans, keys; Eric Krasno, guitar; Alan Evans, drums) have seemingly settled into the pace of this particular run.  I am certainly not saying these shows are mellow, they are anything but mellow.  From the opening night two weeks ago, you can sense the excitement, the high energy building in the club.  The second night was frenzied, but no one seemed to realize that the show was going long to allow Warren Haynes to come from the Upper West Side where  the Allman’s were playing.  Those who either knew what was happening, or those who just hung out, were treated to a 4 song set that lasted well past 2am.

For me, my personal highlight were the ones I have attended.  First night (Thurs), vocalist and keyboardist Nigel Hall brought us back to the first few years of Bowlive where he was a nightly staple to the Soulive trio.

Third night (Sat), I was grateful to see George Porter Jr., bring his personal brand of funkiness to the stage, and the Soulive men tweak a little to the NOLA side of funk.  Add Eddie Roberts, from the New Mastersounds and The London Souls and this night was way up on the face melting scale. Here is a clip of the night before, when Warren Haynes stopped by:

Highlights: Night 4:  Jon Cleary & John Scofield John Scofield needs no introduction. He also has played with the Soulive trio for years, and the chemistry between the four men is palpable.  You can tell the Soulive men adore Scofield, and this bounces back from Sco to the Soulive guys.  The riffs that Krasno and Scofield throw at each other are mesmorizing.  I am not sure if I danced or just stood there with my mouth open.  I wish there was video to share with you.

John «Sco» Scofield  (Foto: Vidar Ruud, ANB)

John «Sco» Scofield (Foto: Vidar Ruud, ANB)

Highlights: Night 5: Susan Tedeschi, Joe Russo, John Cleary.  “Turn on Your Lovelight”

THROWDOWN

The Food:  I ate the addictively delicious Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken, but have to admit my new favorite is the Rock n Roll Fries.  I’ll let ya’ll in on a secret – it is fries and gravy with cheese on the bottom of the plate.  Fattening and delicious for sure.  With all the dancing I’ve done the past two weeks, I have no guilt at all.

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Tonight is the last night to catch BOWLIVE V.  Will you be there?  Hope to see you.  http://www.brooklynbowl.com/event/470695-bowlive-v-soulive-brooklyn/

Nikki Glaspie’s Gratitude Harvest Festival

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Did you know Nikki Glaspie, drummer for Dumpstaphunk, is putting on her own festival?  It’s this weekend kids – and if you are in the Massachusetts area I think you probably should show up.  It promises to be more than a funky time – it headlines Dumpsta, and Glaspie’s newest band, The Nth Power, is showing it’s chops.  Plus, Skerik (saxophonist extraordinaire) and Nigel Hall are just some of the Artists-at-Large?  Yeah.  It’s kinda a no brainer.

Oh, and yeah, they are donating 50% of the proceeds and 100% of the silent auction to SEMAP.  The Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership (SEMAPis dedicated to preserving and expanding access to local food and sustainable farming in Southeastern Massachusetts through research and education. They promote  local farmer’s markets in the South Coast region, work with public schools to bring healthy food to students, and support local farmers, restaurants, and local food vendors.

I mean, personally, Ms. Glaspie not only has amazing chops on those drums (and all the other multi-instruments she plays, including french horn!), but she promotes amazing things.  This is her first festival, with (dare I say) more to come (not confirmed).  This woman promotes good music, good times, and good local food.

This sounds like a beautiful day.  Make sure you check it out!

http://gratitudeharvestfestival.com/

Day 1 Equifunk 2013: Camp Equinunk, PA

3442728_origPre-festival logistics

Oh the decisions!

After a long week, I had left the decision to leave after work on Friday or first thing on Saturday morning to a “game-time” decision.  I realized mid-day that I was going to trek up to the Poconos on Friday night – hoping to see some music, but really wanting to get settled in so I could have one full day of festie love, instead of getting up there on Saturday morning, rushing and getting settled, and then finding music just to pack up the next day.  I have to say, the decision to go on Friday night was the right one.

Driving close to 3 hours from NYC, I got up to the camp, and after a bit of confusion trying to find my bunk, passes and parking, I settled in, made our bed in our cabin, met my new cabin mates for the weekend, and tried to suss out the situation.

I pretty much just followed the music.  I took a walk past a gorgeous lake, where the full moon was bright and clear.  I walked over the footbridge into the other part of the camp – the Equinunk part of camp.  I passed the courtyard of cabins, found the beer, passed the pool and the slide, and walked up the hill to the “E-rena.”  (get it “E-rena” for “E-quifunk.”  Yes, very tongue-n-cheek.)

I had no paper to take notes.  I had no camera to take pictures.  I would have to experience and write that down.  Excuse me in advance if I forget anything.

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photo by: Dino Perrucci

Day 1 Highlights: Friday

I heard JJ Grey & Mofro while walking to the E-rena.  I got to see The New Mastersounds KILL IT on the stage on Friday night.  The scene, I have to say, was totally chill.  Crowd age ranged from mid-twenties to mid-fifties, I’d guess.  People were friendly and nice, with an odd frat-boy overtone (due to free beer, I’d say), but none of the “frat boys” were rude, obnoxious or mean.  They were having just a great time with their buddies, listening to great music just like the rest of the hippies/festival freaks. Continue reading

Bowlive IV: Night 3, Brooklyn Bowl

I covered Bowlive IV, night 3 for The Royal Family Records.  My recap was on Brooklyn Bowl’s site and The Royal Family’s site, so that was cool.  Here’s the words below.  -M

Bowlive IV #3 Recap w/ Nigel Hall, James Casey, Igmar Thomas, and More : Tuesday’s 3/12 show w/ Booker T Jones & More

Bowlive alum Alecia Chakour Band opened the evening on this Bowlive Night 3.  Chakour had her own special guests, the stage was filled with musicians including Cochemea “Cheme” Gastelum (sax, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings) and Igmar Thomas (trumpet.)  Chakour’s vocals got the crowd ready for what was about to happen this evening.

By the time Soulive took the stage, it was a little after 10pm, the sold out crowd  loosened up with a funky, ten minute “Steppin.”  Kraz starts to soulfully play The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby,” before the stage erupts from Neal Evans’ keyboards.  During Kraz’s shredding solo, the audience were singing “All the lonely people” to the band.  What a moment!

Special guests James Casey (sax, Lettuce/Trey Anastasio Band), and Igmar Thomas, (trumpet) both from Bowlive’s past, joined the stage for “Lenny” and “Vapor”, where on Thomas was literally smoking his trumpet.  No Joke.

DJ Logic then joined the stage and spinned with Soulive on “Tuesday.”  Nigel Hall then came out to end the set, and played keys with Neal.  It was more like a Nigel/Neal keyboard showdown.  At first there were three hands on the keys, and that went into a dance, where Nigel and Neal switch sides with each other at the keyboard.  I thought I saw Nikki Glaspie (drums, Dumpstaphunk) peeking behind James Casey and Igmar Thomas with a tambourine in her hand.  The whole band was smiling, the crowd was smiling, it felt like family.  Someone told me it felt like home.  It was certainly beginning to feel that way.

Just when you thought it was setbreak, Alecia Chakour comes back on the stage to sing duet with Nigel.  If you haven’t seen them before, Alecia can sing exactly, on Nigel’s level with her heavy duty pipes and her vixen voice. At one point, Nigel gets on his knees and sings to Alecia, like he’s begging, the crowd goes nuts, the moment had finally arrived at the Bowl.  This was the quintessential Royal Family Records/Bowlive magic that has become commonplace here in Brooklyn in March. Continue reading

Bowlive 3, Night 1, 2.28.12

photo by: Michael Jurick

So, we’re back – the 3rd annual Bowlive held in Brooklyn’s own Brooklyn Bowl. This is the favorite time of year to be eating lots of fried chicken, hearing bowling pins crash while listening to some of today’s finest musicians in a room where only 600 can comfortably stand, or dance. The first night went off without a hitch. Here’s my recount – it gets increasingly harder to understand my notes as the night goes on….

Pre-show:
No real preshow for me. I got to the Bowl at around 8:15pm, the show didn’t start until 9pm. I dropped my coat and bag off, said some hellos, hit the ladies room, got a drink and settled in for the evening. Chatted with my friend and looked to the right of me, there was John Scofield talking with some people, no less than 4 feet from me. I noted it but couldn’t bring myself to gawk at him. He’s one of my guitar heroes-being so close to greatness made me nervous.

photo by: RuthRocks

First Set:
Soulive alone. The trio (Eric Krasno and brothers Neal and Alan Evans) just came off their three night Snowlive weekend in Boulder Colorado, and they sounded tight. Soulive usually sounds tight but tonight they sounded like they had tightened a few notches up. They played alone, and for the first few songs I was so enthralled I had forgotten guitarist John Scofield was going to join the stage.

The trio just nailed the first set of the Bowlive 3 run, my friend turned to me and said, “first set, eh?”. I laughed and shook my head. It had already gotten heavy with funk and bass… We were only a hour in.

Set break:

Bathroom Run. Smoke Break. Hit the bar. Get back near stage left.

photo by: RuthRocks

Set 2:

Alan introduces John Scofield onto the stage and off we go.

Nigel Hall joined Neal Evans on the keyboard before he grabbed the mic to sing a slow bluesy serenade.
Here are my notes on that:
Nigel slow serenade soulful sexy and raw. 10pm. Organ keys reverb right through The Brooklyn Bowl

Nigel wails. Scofield wails. Organ wails and a hot beat by Alan. Damn. Night 1 w the posse surrounding me, all goo love in the air.

First set. Jesus. It just started and it’s crazy funky souled up in here.

Scofield gives props to Soulive and particularly Nigel. Sweet. They go into Boozin’. Scofield is in love with Nigel. You can see it by his face.

Next, a crazy banter w Scofield and Neal. This rage officially melts the Bowl at 1022 pm.

Set Break: I’m kinda floating at this point. With permagrin wide I made it outside, chatted with friends, and realized I was starving. Good thing the Bowl has some good food.

I dropped my coat and winter crap back near my spot next to the stage and went for food. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who had such an idea. So I hit the ladies room instead.

photo by: RuthRocks

Set 3:
Soulive comes on the stage, alone once again. I find a dark corner close my eyes and groove hard in anonymous land. I went there. But I was in dire need of food. So, off to the restaurant!

Food choice? The Beach french bread pizza. Oh my. Lord. Yum. Not for vegetarians but for a pork filled meat lovers delight? I highly recommend. Soulive plays while I wait for my pizza. Food!! Come quickly. They’re raging!

Continue reading

Bowlive III starts tomorrow at Brooklyn Bowl, NYC 2/28-3/9/12

BOWLIVE III:

The chatter and anticipation is humming here in NYC with the return of the 3rd annual Bowlive, Soulive’s 10 day residency at The Brooklyn Bowl. 

Soulive has announced in drips and drabs the special guests, and to be honest with you, this year sounds like the best yet.  I am excited to get it on with my bad self, and the hundreds of other bad selves dancing to great music, incredible jams, loud horns and shredding guitars.  Ah, let Bowlive III begin.

www.royalfamilyrecords.com Continue reading

Nigel Hall & Alecia Chakour, Rockwood Music Hall 2.13.12

photo by: View Skewed

The Royal Family warms up a random February Monday Evening

Jazzy, harmonic sexy duets in honor of St. Valentine, warmed the crowd’s bodies and souls for one hour on a cold Monday evening.

Nigel Hall, keyboards, and Alecia Chakour, vocals, both from the Warren Haynes Band sang a sexy little set in honor of St. Valentine’s, with nine love songs which spanned the spectrum from fusion jazz to rhythm & blues, song by song.  The room was intimate, the stage was intimate and the vibe was laid back.  By the last song, people were dancing, and everyone was smiling.  We became a very happy room.

photo by: View Skewed

My favorite song was Lauryn Hill’s Nothing Even Matters, … the sweet, happy banter between these two… so nice.  Now, just because I’m calling it sweet does not mean that it’s soft.  No, both Hall and Chakour have powerful, soulful voices that kinda swirl around each other in harmonies, making it hard to not sway, smile and be….happy.

Members of The Royal Family Records were the backup band members with Adam Deitch, drums, and Adam “Schmeeans” Smirnoff, guitar, from Lettuce.  Eric Krasno, (Soulive, Lettuce, Chapter 2) came eventually replacing Chakour’s brother, Alex on bass.  Alex Chakour played most of the set, with Krasno playing the last song.

I wonder if this could be the warmup to the Brooklyn Bowl’s  Bowlive.