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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.