On Saturday, March 3rd, I had the good fortune of catching not just one, but two Soulive shows at the Brooklyn Bowl. Right in the middle of their third annual Bowlive residency, the band played a special afternoon show, entitled the Kidrocker’s Bowl, which was designed for children and their families. While the 1pm start time was clearly catered towards a family oriented show, the band’s set was pretty standard without any real songs intended specifically for children. The band opened up with “Steppin'” followed by “Turn it Out” which featured guest percussionists of Karl Denson along with Eric Krasno’s daughter on cowbell and shakers. For the third song of the afternoon, Nigel Hall walked onto the stage to provide the vocals on “Too Much” off of the band’s album, Up Here. After a question and answer period, which included the band liked the Jackson 5, per request, the band launched into Michael Jackson’s “I Can’t Help It” off of Off the Wall. The band closed out their set with “Give Me a Sign” and “Baby, I Do Love You” before calling it an afternoon.

The nightcap started with a fantastic opening set by the Nigel Hall Band, consisting of Nigel, Adam “Shmeens” Smirnoff on Guitar, Eric Krasno on Bass, and Neil Evans on Keys which had plenty of help throughout the 45 minute set, closing with a powerful “Give Me A Sign.” Wyllys, who was tapped as the late night DJ, provided the set break music as well, mixing old school vinyls of funk and hip hop. After nearly an hour of Wyllys, the three members of Soulive, Krasno on Guitar, and the two Evans brothers, Neil on Keys, and Alan on Drums, walked out onto the stage for “Outrage” and “Bubble” before the cavalcade of guests began pouring onto the stage. For “Vapor,” the “Bowlive Horns” took the stage, consisting of James Casey on Tenor Sax, Matt Owens on Trumpet, and special guest Jennifer Hartswick on Trumpet as well. At that point, Marco Benevento strolled out onto the stage, dressed in comparatively normal attire, for a heater in “Hat Trick,” followed by the Ray Charles classic “Drown In My Tears,” complete with Hartswick on vocals and a towering James Casey Sax solo. The set roared into a close with an instrumental cover of the Beatles’ “Revolution,” which was one of the lengthiest jams of the night and featured great organ interpolation between Benevento and Neil Evans.

After another set from Wyllys while Soulive was between sets, the band came back as a trio once again for “So Live!” and “Turn It Out.” The next new guest of the night was the addition of Louis Cato on Drums while Alan picked up a guitar and Marco took his place at his organ for the Jimi Hendrix song, and always crowd favorite “Manic Depression.” After a pair of songs, the band closed their set with a highlight of my concert-going career in Led Zeppelin’s “Dazed and Confused” with Jennifer Hartswick providing the vocals. The show finally approached the end with an encore of Zeppelin’s “The Ocean” to send the whole crowd home happy as the night stretched past 1 AM.

Overall, this show was truly remarkable, featuring nary a lull and incredible guest performances from the five extra musicians that piled onto the stage on after another. Week two of Bowlive features Lettuce, Billy Martin, ?uestlove, George Porter Jr., and many many more.

Written By Brian Weidy