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/

Day 2 Equifunk 2013, Camp Equinunk, PA

Saturday Morning, Day 2

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I woke up hungry.  And worried that I was going to miss breakfast, or at least miss all the food.  And I needed coffee. Bad.  So I left my cabin mates and walked over the footbridge and wandered for the mess hall.  It was not where I thought it was – actually I had no idea where it was, but I needed coffee.  STAT.  There was a line for the food, but much to my welcome surprise there was food. The food was not going to run out.  The coffee was not running out.  They had bagels, eggs, bacon, waffles, coffee, tea, ice water and orange juice, fruit and cereal and milk.  It was a beautiful buffet.  I was happy. Sitting alone, eating my breakfast, finally having enough coffee in me to be able to focus on what was going on around me.  People looked about the way I felt.  I needed a shower.  Or a dip in the pool.  And I just needed more coffee.

I took a doggie bag back with me for my cabin-mates, and took the walk back to my camp, yes over the footbridge again, past the lake, through the woods, up the hill to my cabin.  My cabin-mates were waking and slowly getting motivated to go see Superhuman Happiness, a supergroup whose members are all key NYC players with a collective resume that stretches across a dizzying array of talent, including Antibalas, Phenomenal Handclap Band, TV on the Radio, Iron & Wine and Martha Wainwright among numerous others. They were formed in 2008 to seek joy and love through shared rhythm and melody, composed and improvised. Their mission is to pursue a happiness greater than that experienced by an individual mind.  I got my chair, and my towel and got my cocktails in order and went back through the woods, over the footbridge, through the Equinunk cabin quad, up the hill to the pool area where there was a stage playing music all day.

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photo by: Phrazz

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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 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

Fri, Aug 27, 2010: Benevento/Russo Duo > Bobby Lee Rodgers Trio

photo by: Robyn Gould

Birthday Extravaganza, Day 2 Pre-Party: I spent all day cooking and getting the house ready for the first party I’ve had in the new place.  My BFF came over and was truly the party saver.  Without her we wouldn’t have cups or utensils to eat the lasagna or drink the drinks.  And the napkins.  (Thanks Dianne!, truly the party mule) The scene was intimate, about 5 or 6 people, which is actually a nice size for these NYC apartments.  I opened the champagne, and I started to get a bit giggly.  A sign that it was time to go down to The Highline Ballroom, to see Marco Benevento and Joe Russo. Travel arrangements made by Eric, thank you.

photo by: Robyn Gould

Benevento/Russo Duo: (download this show here) Never seeing the Duo, yet knowing both artists separately I was very, very excited to see these guys together.  They rarely play together these days, with Joe Russo touring with Furthur and others, and Marco Benevento playing with Garage a Trois, and others.  I guess sometimes the scheduling gets in the way.  I knew this was a special night. Especially when my 2 friends got miracled for the show with free tickets that just sort of flew into our hands that evening.  Birthday surprises had begun.

photo by: Robyn Gould

The Highline Ballroom was packed when the three of us walked inside.  We eventually made our way upstairs where a table was open and waiting for us.  The Birthday Bubble was closing in on us, and nothing was gonna hold us back from having an amazing time.  The two guys on stage didn’t disappoint either.

To describe what happened on the stage is, well… it was fantastic jazz.  Old school Baby Grand piano with a small amount of drums on the stage.  That was it.  Two instruments.  Two incredible players.  Talent oozing off the stage.  A twenty minute Blues for Allah, jazzy enough to the point where I couldn’t figure out it was a Grateful Dead song.  Truth be told, until I saw the set list I didn’t know any song that was being played.  It was that great kind of old jazz where you think about small jazz clubs in Chicago, people are smoking their cigarettes and drinking their whiskey and tapping their feet.  It was that vibe, and friends came over to me throughout the night to wish me birthday wishes and celebrate.  It was beautiful, indeed.

photo by: Robyn Gould

Bobby Lee Rodgers Trio, Sullivan Hall:

After laughing with and kissing and hugging goodbye to the crew uptown we departed to go down to the West Village to my other favorite place, Sully Hall, to see Bobby Lee Rodgers.  I knew of him from Wanee and was excited to hear some guitars and southern rock.  Who am I to say no to guitars and southern rock?  I saw more friends outside the venue, who knew it was my birthday and we were walked into Sullivan Hall celebratory style.  After a drink with my girl, another drink with my buddy, I have to admit, I was feeling no pain.

I went to my normal spot on the side of the stage and danced myself silly.  I’d say there were about 50 people in there, a late night show (starting at 11:30) and incredibly funky.  Bobby is truly a master on that guitar, drum beat keeping it all moving along… whoooo.  Fun fun fun stuff.  Bobby is not to be missed when he comes to your part of town. 

In the crowd was a familiar face, Eric Krasno from Soulive, and I said hi to him.  Usually I am rather shy when it comes to saying hello to certain musicians of a certain caliber, but this night I was in rare form.  I even asked him for a picture, which he graciously said of course.  Yep, rare form indeed, floating on an incredible music, surrounded by beautiful friends and having the time of my life.

.… the actual birthday starts the next day with a Midnight Ramble with Levon Helm… but Bobby Lee brought in the midnight hour with a bang!

Thanks to all who celebrated with me in the Birthday Bubble….musicians included!

Thurs, Aug 26, 2010: Birthday Extravaganza Day 1: Trombone Shorty

Trombone Shorty

My birthday extravaganza happened this past weekend, starting with NOLA funk down at the Water Taxi Beach with Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue w/ Jon Cleary. I danced in NOLA style and met new friends, and strangers alike.  It was the day 1 of the 4 day birthday celebration, and I had just begun to shed the week’s annoyances and focus in front of me.  With some burgers from the grill, friends mosey-ing around me, and some highly sweetened margaritas, I started it off on my dancin’ foot.

Thursday: Trombone Shorty, if you haven’t seen him, is a monster on that trombone.  Not to mention, a showman in his own right, he gets the crowd pumped, and blasts that trombone loudly, commanding attention.  Trombone Shorty not only plays trombone, but he plays trumpet, and there were already 2 saxophonists and a trumpetist up there.  It went down, it got funky, it was incredibly loud (thank goodness for my musician earplugs).  Highlights:  when the band all dropped their instruments and played drums/percussion for what it felt like 10 minutes.  I met Trombone Shorty (ok, I shook his hand), and I got a ride home from a good friend (thanks Peter!).  A perfect start to what became a perfect birthday.

Photo by: Robyn Gould

Jon Cleary

Friday:  Benevento/Russo Duo & Bobby Lee Rodgers, NYC.

Saturday:  Midnight Ramble w/ Levon Helm and special guests:  Assembly of Dust, Woodstock NY

Stay tuned for more.   This weekend is still being processed by my slow moving brain.