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Nigel Hall Band @ Bowlive III

Nigel Hall @ Bowlive III : Night 5


Keyboardist/Vocalist Nigel Hall, who took the stage as a special guest during the early Bowlive III shows, also took a turn as opening act on night five of the ten night Soulive Brooklyn Bowl residency. Joined by Soulive members Neal Evans and Eric Krasno (on Bass guitar) Hall got the room percolating with a super energetic set. Backed by a stellar group of players including Adam Smirnoff of Lettuce, drummer Louis Cato and a full horn section (James Casey, Jennifer Hartswick, Matt Owen) Hall engaged the audience with smooth soul jams like “Too Sweet” and “Never Gonna Let You Go”. Singers Alecia Chakour and Mel Flannery added harmony and response vocals to the headline worthy set. Hall returned to Bowlive on night 10 (which I watched streamed via iClips) for a version of Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come” sung with Ledisi.

Photos of Soulive’s night 5 performance (Saturday March 3, 2012) can be found here.

Bowlive III: Freeform Funkafied Fine-ness

Bowlive Special Guest Jennifer Hartswick Channels Her Inner Robert Plant


There Are No Words…
Often an experience is greater than words can adequately describe. That is the case with the event I attended this on Saturday March 3, 2012. I could say transcendant, I could say joyous. I could say mind-blowing – even though that would break a New Year’s resolution. I will say Free Form Funakfied Fine-ness. That’s the best I can do. If you weren’t there it doesn’t suffice.

I admit I’m super late to this party. Again sorrier than words can express. I got turned on to Soulive last spring when I was introduced to organist Neal Evans at Eagle Rock’s Rory Gallagher Tribute show at Iridium. By that time I had already missed the second Bowlive, and vowed not to let another pass without covering at least one date.

Soulive: Alan Evans, Eric Krasno, Neal Evans


What It Is…
The trio Soulive is brothers Neal and Alan Evans on Keyboards and Drums, respectively, with guitarist Eric Krasno. Bowlive gives the band a chance to bring up musical friends and do what great jam bands do – JAM. The musical moods run from Booker T. & MG’s instro soul, to Parliament funk, to Led lined dinosaur rock and Coltrane jazz explorations. You catch hints and pieces of familiar rock tunes strung throughout, “Manic Depression” here, “Soul Sacrifice” there. “Rubber Soulive” is (no surprise) their spin on the music of The Beatles.

Bowlive III is the band’s 2012 ten show residency at Brooklyn Bowl that allows them to set up camp and play in the sandbox with their musical friends. This year that included, but was not limited to, John Scofield, Luther Dickinson, Nigel Hall, Lettuce and The London Souls. Soulive’s audience is a very friendly community of fans, who made even this newbie feel right at home. Being told I was “in for a treat” seeing Soulive and opening act The Nigel Hall Band for the first time was a massive understatement.

Night 5 Special Guests…
On show number 5 Soulive was augmented by Keyboardist Marco Benevento who gave the trio additional juice by joining them for most of their two sets on swirling Leslie driven Hammond B3, drummer Louis Cato sat in while Alan doubled on guitar, and trumpeter/vocalist Jennifer Hartswick. After playing a couple of incredible horn solos Hartswick took center stage for some powerful bluesy lead vocalizing including a hellacious version of “Dazed and Confused” that ended the second set. Nowhere left to go after that? Think again. Soulive encored with a pounding instrumental version of another Led Zep classic “The Ocean”.

A full blow-by-blow, night by night, overview by those much more knowledgeable than myself can be read here. Find everyone in the Soulive extended family at Royal Family Records.

Always Bowled Over…
As I’ve said in the past, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better experience than taking in a show at the The Brooklyn Bowl. Along with its namesake bowling alleys, the venue boasts a spacious stage/dance floor area, top notch tap beer selection at the bar, and a slightly up scale pub style restaurant (without upscale pricing.) I’ve found the attention to detail in sound and lighting to be especially excellent on all the shows I’ve attended there.

“One More Rory” Tribute: Photo Gallery

Thanks for so much positive feedback on the Gallagher Tribute coverage. Hope you equally enjoy these photographs from the event.

Click any image to launch gallery.

Eagle Rock & Iridium offer “One More Rory” Tribute

Photos and more video from this special event will follow throughout the week.

OVERVIEW –

New York’s City’s famed Iridium Jazz Club was turned into a steaming juke joint on May 23, 2011. Taking a sidestep from the now traditional Monday night Les Paul Tribute the club hosted an homage to another guitar great, the late Rory Gallagher. Attention to Gallagher’s legacy is deservedly on the rise via ongoing CD and DVD releases of both remastered and previously unreleased material from Eagle Rock Entertainment. Gallagher’s brother and former manager Donal is intrinsically involved in the project and lends historical accuracy and context to projects. If you are unfamiliar with Rory’s story a great place to start is the recent biographical DVD called “Ghost Blues”, which is an awesome overview of his career and his influence over the years.

PANEL DISCUSSION –

The evening began with an informal and informative panel session. After introductions by Eagle Rock President of Operations Mike Carden, radio host “UK Bob” (WRFG, Atlanta) led the discussion. Panelists included Billboard columnist Ed Christman; Elliot Mazer, producer of Gallagher’s “lost” album; Rory’s Brother Donal; writer/editor John Swenson (Rolling Stone, Crawdaddy), Larry Yelen (Clapton Visual Anthology) and Lindsay Brown. The topics ranged from Rory’s influence on current Irish musicians during their formative years, his near induction into the Rolling Stones after Mick Taylor’s departure, Polydor’s inability to expand his career, circumstances of the aborted album recordings now released as part of the “Notes From San Francisco” CD package, and even a hint of a proposed bio-pic.

MUSICAL PERFORMANCES –

Following the panel discussion the music began with mini-sets and jam sessions featuring some the best blues and blues rock talent on the current scene. The sold out audience was treated to great renditions of just about every Gallagher classic including “Tattoed Lady”, “Calling Card”, “I Could Have Had Religion”, “I Wonder Who’s Gonna Be Your Sweet Man” and Junior Wells’ “Messin’ with the Kid”; a Gallagher signature tune. Each musician was clearly thrilled to be included in this tribute and rose to the occasion by playing with both finesse and fire worthy of the man himself. Introducing the audience to such a wide range of talented players who are keeping the traditions alive was a fitting honor to Rory’s memory.

The highlights were numerous. Each performer revealed their unique merits in the blues idiom and the audience responded with long rounds of applause and shouts of approval. It was a collective “blues rapture” that made me glad the world did not end the previous week, as predicted.

WHO PLAYED –

Kicking things off, Les Paul Trio’s Lou Pallo joined John Paris for some slide and harp driven tunes. Scott Holt displayed the fruits of his long tenure in the Buddy Guy band with stinging lead lines and forceful stage presence and Innis Sibun’s energetic set found him stalking the audience with a pink stratocaster. Paul McGilloway rendered a beautiful version of “Danny Boy” on resonator guitar. Jimmy Suhler, of George Thorogood’s Destroyers, played great takes on two of my favorite Rory tunes “Mississippi Sheiks” and “Bought and Sold”. Kerry Kearny shot out slide runs that sounded like liquid fire and guest vocalist Alan Merrill, co-author of the anthemic “I Love Rock N Roll”, took the stage for a rollicking version of “BullFrog Blues”.

Headliner Davy Knowles’ set featured the young guitarist on both acoustic slide and electric. The much loved “phenom” – appropriately clad in plaid – was perfect choice of headliner. Drawing on his Isle of Man heritage he can put a Celtic spin on Clapton-esque Brit-Blues much like Rory did. At Iridium he spoke about those connections and spun off some “She Moved Through the Fair” style arpeggios before sliding into a smoldering cover of “A Million Miles Away”.

The rhythm section changed personnel throughout the evening. Foghat’s Roger Earl and Destroyer’s Jeff Simon held down drum duties and – with the exception of Nate Peterson and Kirk Yano working with Holt and Knowles (respectively) – New York music scene stalwart Kenny Aaronson covered the bass guitar. Aaronson’s musical resume deserves an article of its own but no matter how many affiliations he piles up he will always be fondly be thought of by “Brooklynites of a certain age” (like myself) as the Bass player for seminal hard rock band Dust, along with band-mates Marc Bell and Richie Wise.

Rounding out the jams were Dave Cohon’s rocking barrelhouse style piano and Neal Evans of Soulive doling delicious doses of soulful B3 organ. Talk about a double shot of Hammond heaven; the next night I caught a killer set by Booker T. Jones at The Bell House in Brooklyn. Miraculously cleared up my nagging head cold.

More Rory

In depth reviews of Eagle Rock’s recent Rory Gallagher releases by both myself and Ken Pierce can be found here, with more to come.

Official Rory Gallagher Website