Freaks Ball XV, Brooklyn Bowl Jan 23 & 24, 2015

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Photo by: Scott Harris

Set lists and taper links are below.

There has been much chatter about the incredulous 2015 Freaks Ball JRAD shows.  Two sold out shows at The Brooklyn Bowl.  Lines around the corner. Chicken, pizza and beer freely flowing. Here is my take on what went down this weekend in Brooklyn.

Metzger, Hamilton, Dreiwitz, Benevento and Russo are monsters in their own right.  Metzger and Hamilton were switching the Jerry part (playing and singing) all night, in a tight succession.  This is not FURTHUR, which (to me) seems about a half step slower than needed.  This is not Phil and Friends, which again, seems a bit slowed down for me.  This is JRAD, a bunch of hot musicians playing an upbeat, quick paced Grateful Dead. Their energy sounds reminiscent of the cassettes I used to listen to, of the early day GD shows.  JRAD’s pace blew me away the first time I saw them, years ago at another Freaks Ball.  This is also why I continue to see JRAD again.

Night One of The Freaks Ball was the first time the band played all those tunes, and it is safe to say that for the rest of the JRAD tour, these songs will be in the rotation.  I particularly loved the Iko Iko > Mississippi Half Step > Sugar Mag.  It reminded me of a GD show in the late 80s.

All of these songs were executed perfectly.  They certainly didn’t sound like it was a first time performance. However, the audio is up on archive.org – you can decide for yourself.

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Photo by: Scott Harris

Second night, there seemed to be a shimmer in the room.  Electricity was bouncing before the band even hit the stage.  From the moment they hit the first note of Alligator, The Bowl was in blast off mode.  Jack-a-Roe was a super tune – need to go back to listen to that as well as Ophelia (what? Ophelia?)  Yes, Ophelia.

Second set though, I wanted a fancy Help>Slip>Terrapin (hey, one could wish right?)  Much to my surprise and chagrin, I got my Help>Slip.  Help was perfect, and then there was this riff, this jam, this hard squealing guitar before Slip that I still can’t get out of my brain.  It certainly wasn’t Slipknot, because they only did a few repetitions of Slip.  Metzger was crushing his guitar, and I have itched to hear it again since Saturday night.  This was one of the highlights for me.  Then Shakedown quite literally may have shaken down The Brooklyn Bowl. The crowd was loving it.

Then there was the closer, Mountain Dew.  The house was quiet and attentive on the musicians on the stage.  I was mesmerized, as were most of the crowd.  Hamilton on vocals was spot on.  Goosebumps type of spot on.

This weekend’s music bliss was palpable for everyone involved.  The Freaks, the audience, JRAD.  Wow.  Freaks Ball throws another amazing weekend.  Thank you Freaks.  Thank you Mr. Shapiro. Thank you Mr. Costello.  Thank you…goodnight.

Night One: Set List and Taper Link:

Taper link: Archive.org

Set 1:
01. intro/crowd
02. Alabama Getaway
03. Alice D. Millionaire ->
04. Greatest Story Ever Told
05. Black Peter ->
06. Lost Sailor ->
07. Saint Of Circumstance
08. banter – band intros
09. Big Railroad Blues
10. outro/crowd

Set 2:
01. intro/crowd
02. Feel Like A Stranger
03. Stagger Lee ->
04. Iko Iko ->
05. Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo ->
06. Sugar Magnolia
07. Mission In The Rain
08. encore break/crowd
Encore:
09. They Love Each Other

Night Two: Set List 

Set 1
01. Alligator (SM) >
02. Caution Jam >
03. Liz Reed Jam >
04. Jack A Roe # (TH) >
05. Uncle John’s Band >
06. Ophelia $ (SM)
07. Ramble On Rose (TH)
08. Only Daddy That’ll Walk The Line ## (SM)>
09. Bertha (TH)

Set 2
01. Music Never Stopped (SM) >
02. Cumberland Blues & (A)
03. Help On The Way (TH) >
04. Slipknot!>
05. Shakedown Street (TH)
06. Truckin (SM) >
07. Space>
08. Morning Dew (TH)

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09. Brown Eyed Women (TH)

 

Ed note:  Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015.  It seems/feels like I’ve been away from View Skewed for a long time.  In 2014,  I was writing for other outlets – The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY, as well as Jambands.com.  I also had my first article published in Jambase and finally had my first review PRINTED in Relix Magazine for my coverage of the Bear Creek Arts & Music Festival.  Overall, it was a good year for writing, but probably not my best.  Perhaps in 2015, I can change this trend.  As always, thank you for reading my words.

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

Bowlive II, Night 7, Monster Jazz Jam: Scofield, Oteil, Kofi, Ivan and Marco

Jambands.com Review Here!