At long last the wait is over!  Last night marked the opening night of Bowlive IV, the annual Brooklyn Bowl residency from funk/jazz trio Soulive.  With a sellout crowd in attendance, the air in the room was truly electric.

Kicking things off, CT funk masters Kung-Fu played a short but sweet, high energy set.  This was the perfect thing to warm up the crowd which continued to file in to the venue from the cold, wet NYC air.  After 45 minutes of lethal funk and dancing the quintet left the stage, as well as the crowd, hungry and amped for more.

Soulive satiated fans with two sets of dance fuel marked by special guests, covers, and even dancers!  Set one was highlighted by an appearance from Blues Traveler front man John Popper, who sat in for performances of “Mulling It Over and a spectacular jammed out version of The Beatle’s “Come Together”.

North Mississippi All Star’s slide guitarist Luther Dickinson joined Soulive to start set two.  After a lively “Shake Your Mama”, which featured costumed performers dancing in the bowling lanes, the foursome did a ridiculous trio of covers.  Jimi Hendrix’s “Spanish Castle Magic” was followed by a beautiful  rendition of The Beatle’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” as well as “Tomorrow Never Knows”.  Also joining the group mid set was Cody Dickinson to play drums, which freed up Alan Evans to pickup a bass guitar.  The second set came to a close with a tune often played by the The North Mississippi All-Star’s,  “Shake Em On Down”.

Guitarist Eric Krasno promised an extended encore to make up for ?uestLove’s absence from the venue to perform the late night Bowl Train set.  After another Hendrix cover in “Manic Depression”,  Cody Dickinson put on a show, playing the washboard which was connected to a Wah pedal making for one tripped out incredible sound.  It’s truly a sight and sound to behold.  One final guest, trombonist Saunders Sermons (Tedeschi Trucks Band) joined the stage to close out this incredible first night with a cover of Bill Wither’s “Kissin My Love”.

With one in the books and seven more to go, it is hard to believe that these guys can sustain the kind of electric energy and showmanship they put on display last night.  However, unless you are new to Bowlive, we all know they will do just that.  Stay tuned to Live For Live Music for continuing coverage of Bowlive IV. Tonight’s show promises to be fire.  Sister Sparrow and The Dirty Birds will be getting things started as well as guest appearances from Robert Randolph and Lee Fields.

-Andre Reddy

Check out Krasno and Luther Dickinson tear it up on “Spanish Castle Magic”:

(video courtesy of Marc Millman)

Check out photos from Night 1 of BOWLIVE at Brooklyn Bowl (photos courtesy of Vernon Webb):