Bowlive 5: Soulive with the London Souls, the Shady Horns and George Porter, Jr.
March 15 2014
Having two fairly demanding jobs often means that i have competing demands for my time and attention, sometimes makes me wish that I had a 45 hour day in order to take care of everything I’d like to do. Of course, ironically enough i’d probably try to take care of everything and still not have enough time – and then i’ve lately had a few issues with uploading photos on Flickr, which have delayed some posts here and there.
Jazz trio Soulive returned to Brooklyn Bowl, in March for the fifth annual residency stop that the venue and the band have dubbed Bowlive. And there are a couple of things that make their residency stops must see events if you dig live music. Each night of their residency features Soulive performing with a variety of special guests and that makes every single night completely different. it also reveals that Soulive is one of the better live bands in comtemporary music as they can adeptly play just about anything with ease. And yet, it also reveals the shitty, unpredictability of the music industry; in other words, the fact that a band as talented as Soulive isn’t one of the biggest bands on earth is a sad reality that every single band has to face at some point. After all, how much does love of what you do compete with financial necessities like rent and food?
Still selling out Brooklyn Bowl every night for eight nights is quite an achievement considering the fact that their residency went up against the Allman Brothers residency at the Beacon Theater; Cut Copy playing two nights at Terminal 5; and a host of other bands playing at venues of various sizes across the greatest and busiest city in the entire world. And on the third night of their residency, Soulive teamed up with the London Souls, the Shady Horns (who were a constant throughout the residency), and the great George Porter, Jr.
Now, I’ve seen the London Souls on a number of occasions, as they just have wound up on a number of bills over the few years, and they are honestly an act that I don’t find all that impressive; in fact, i find them to be highly unoriginal and boring live, and sonically, their sound plays off the Jimi Hendrix Experience/Cream mold that’s been done about 3 or 4 million times before. In some way, the set dragged on hopelessly and I couldn’t wait for it to end. At one point i texted a friend asking them if Obama was still president – that’s how long their set seemed to take. And if there’s a worse sin than being bad, it’s being hopelessly dull. it’s a shame because there’s actually some talent there, and if they pushed their sound towards more adventurous directions they could really be impressive.
However, the obvious MVP of the night were the ridiculously talented Soulive who played a loose, jam-based set of instrumental compositions that had the crowd dancing – the material managed to employ elements of funk, jazz and rock. But it was their set with George Porter, Jr. that was arguably one of the best sets I’ve seen this year, as the set had them playing funk and soul with the assistance of the Shady Horns.
This was followed by a set that had the combination of both Soulive and the London Souls that both bands dubbed London Soulive; in any case, their set included old school rock covers including a pretty decent, bluesy cover of Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s “Down by the River,” one of my favorite Neil Young songs. With the exception of the London Souls set, it was quite a night, a night that had the Brooklyn Bowl crowd walking out very happily into the night.
Soulive with the Shady Horns
Soulive with George Porter, Jr. and the Shady Horns
“London Soulive” with George Porter, Jr. and the Shady Horns
For these photos and more check out the Flickr set here: