Bowlive 6 kicked off this weekend in Brooklyn, NY. The jazzy funk trio’s yearly Brooklyn Bowl residency got a jump start with guests aplenty, covers, and top-tier musicianship.
The festivities began with Scott Metzger’s new band, WOLF! A trio themselves, WOLF! blends soul, traditional rock n roll, blues, and outlaw country for a mix that sounds as unique through the speakers as it does on paper. The guitar-bass-drums combo yields an instrumental rock style that is certainly lacking in the scene currently. To put it plainly, there isn’t another band like them.
WOLF! played about an hours-worth of tracks taken from their upcoming self-titled debut. WOLF!, the album, is due out on Royal Potato Family come April 7. Jambase debuted a track recently, and you can peep that here.
Soulive took the stage for their first of what will become a dozen+ sets over the next two weeks. Bowlive is like a little, mini Jazzfest for Brooklyn in a lot of ways. The collaborations are unique and plentiful, and you really never know exactly what you’re going to get when you walk through the door, except for a hell of a show.
On Thursday, the trio kicked things off with “Steppin’” and right away you could tell how much this residency means to them. Alan Evans, drummer and master of ceremonies for Soulive, noted that every year during Bowlive the band reflects on their history. Alan went on to say the band started in early March 16 years ago, and raised a glass to their longevity.
The Shady Horns (Eric Bloom and Ryan Zoidis, both of Lettuce) joined Soulive for a couple songs before Charles Bradley came on stage. The Screaming Eagle of Soul, as they call him, was every bit of his energetic, smiling, loving, inspiring self on Thursday night. He led the band in “Ain’t It A Sin,” “The World (Is Going Up In Flames),” and the heartfelt “Why Is It So Hard” with each bit of his mind, body, and soul.
Set two began with a cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Manic Depression.” Guitarist Eric Krasno may not have the same acclaim as the world’s favorite guitarist does, but amongst Brooklynites, he is the closest thing we’ll get to see. We’re truly lucky to have such a talented, as Wall Street Journal put it, “Master Collaborator” as a part of our scene. Whether he’s getting jazzy with Soulive, funky with Lettuce, or sitting in with the likes of Tedeschi-Trucks Band or Greensky Bluegrass, Krasno is almost always in the house, ready to pick a gut-twitching guitar solo.
Krasno has also been working on a fair share of electronic music alongside the likes of Brooklyn-based Branx and Gramatik. “Torture,” a song with the latter producer, actually made its way in to the second set on Thursday in a more rockin’, bluesy form. Krasno sang the song, which was an utter rarity for the audience, if not something they have never seen before.
Charles Bradley came back out in the second set for covers of the Alan Evans Trio’s “Drop Hop” and James Brown’s “Bewildered.” By the time Bradley exited the stage for the second set, the audience and Soulive both were absolutely beside themselves. Eric Krasno and Neal Evans were smiling ear to ear with excitement and thanks, absolutely stunned at the performance Bradley put on. It was a special moment for everyone in the building.
In addition to Bradley coming back out for a couple songs, Scott Metzger and The London Soul’s Tash Neal came out for a few tunes. Tash lead the band in a cover of the Beatles’ “Get Back” to close the second set. He sang well and delivered a delicious guitar solo to rev up the Brooklyn crowd.
The encore was “Them Changes,” the Buddy Miles tune. The funky feel-good track definitely had the Bowl transformed in to a jovial get-down. Like said previously, it’s a little slice of that NOLA party vibe that Soulive brings to Brooklyn each year, and for those of us who don’t get to make it to the Bayou for Mardi Gras or Jazzfest, this funk goes a long, long way.
Bowlive 6 continues through this week with guests Chris Robinson, Marco Benevento, Anders Osborne, and more.