It was a snowy, unforgiving night in Philadelphia as funk fusion trio Soulive kicked off their first night of a two night stand in Philadelphia on Friday March 2 at the Ardmore Music Hall with special guests John Scofield and Consider The Source. Fans’ woes of missing the show due to inclement weather were consoled by a clutch last-minute action from the folks at the Ardmore Music Hall and Soulive: There would be a THIRD show added for the following morning, and Scofield would stick around for the matinee.
NYC prog-fusion shredders Consider The Source took the stage first, opening the night with a taste of their signature sci-fi infused technical mastery. As fans were just escaping the unforgiving winds, CTS was able to thaw off the remainder of the frost with electrifying riffs, simultaneously sending the room straight into outer space, leaving the crowd was left pleasantly pumped up for the main event.
Enter Soulive: Fresh off the release of their new album Cinematics, Vol. 1 and itching to play the first of their now-three scheduled United States shows of 2018. The band was all smiles as they casually informed the audience of the their realization that it was, coincidentally, the 19th anniversary of the group that night.
From the first note of the night it was apparent that the band came correct, taking the room on a sonic journey through new debuts and old favorites. Perhaps as a tip of the cap to the impromptu third show, the trio led off with their classic heater “Hat Trick” before launching into their first live takes on new tunes from Cinematics, with an inspired of their first single “Kings March”, followed three more new ones: the high-flying funk of “Bluebird”, the classic soul grooves of “Miller’s Last Stand”, and the laid-back styles of “Sidekick”. The night was elevated out of the stratosphere after the band welcomed special guest John Scofield to the stage for the remainder of their set.
Initially hitting on the jazzier tunes, including Scofield’s classic “Hottentot” and an unnamed, completely improvised blues jam, Sco-live didn’t skip a beat the whole time. The set finished up with a twist of classic rock including a revisit to “Rubber Soulive” in the form of The Beatles‘ “Get Back”, a funky twist on Jimi Hendrix’s “Hey Joe”, and an encore of the Allman Brothers Band classic instrumental In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed.
Soulive w/ John Scofield – Blues Jam
The feeling was apparent to all after night 1, the run had already established itself as a truly special occasion. The morning of March 3rd began with a matinee set from Soulive and John Scofield, who were more than pleased to be playing for those who could not make the previous night’s show. Sco-live was met with many a “thank you” shouted from the mid-day crowd. The group revisited three new tunes in the form of “Sidekick”, “King’s March”, and a mid-set “Waves”–each with more improvisation than their debuts. John Scofield came out after two songs with high energy, rapping the “Whatcha See is What You Get” lyrics to the crowd before settling into songs from the older Soulive catalog including “Uncle Junior”, “Shaheed”, and “Tabasco”. The set ended with the quartet covering “Hey Joe” (this time with Alan Evans on vocals) “Liz Reed”, and “Get Back” once more.
As if the first two shows weren’t good enough, Soulive returned to the stage just 4 hours after their daytime performance for another barn-burner supported this time around by Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe guitarist Dj Williams’ new project Dj Williams’ Shots Fired.
While the previous night showed more of a contrast in style between opener and headliner, the combination of Soulive & DJ William’s Shots Fired made for a nonstop crowd-pleasing funk onslaught. Shots Fired worked the crowd with a special blend of classic funk sound and new-school flare, including a talkbox laden cover of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”.
Soulive hit the stage for a third time with no signs of slowing up the pace and the band showed up big for their final ride. Night 2 had a heavy blues vibe including new material mixed with fan favorites like the groovy “Steppin”, a gigantic “El Ron”, and “Alladin”, even touching on Eric Krasno original tune “Curse Lifter” off of Blood From A Stone. Continuing the theme of tasteful covers on the weekend, the band gave a nod to blues great Stevie Ray Vaughn with a cover of “Lenny”, Eric Krasno Band guitarist and Philly local Danny Mayer joining the band for an extended jam on Hendrix classic “Manic Depression”, and revisited “Rubber Soulive” again for their final song, an instrumental cover of “Revolution”.
Soulive came out swinging and left the room spinning in top form – just business as usual. With their only stateside shows finished, the trio will make their way across the pond to London’s Jazz Cafe this week on March 6. For more info, head to the band’s website.
Setlist: Soulive | The Ardmore Music Hall | Ardmore, PA | 3/2/18
Hat Trick, King’s March*, Bluebird*, Sidekick*, Miller’s Last Stand*, Waves*, Hottentot^, Nealization^, Boozer^, Hey Joe^, Turn It Out^, Whatcha See is What You Get^, Get Back^
Encore: In Memory of Elizabeth Reed^
^ with John Scofield
Setlist: Soulive | The Ardmore Music Hall | Ardmore, PA | 3/3/18 (Daytime Show)
Sidekick, King’s March, Whatcha See is What You Get^, Uncle Junior^, Shaheed^, Tabasco^, Waves^, Boozer^, Hey Joe^, Nealization^, In Memory of Elizabeth Reed^
Encore: Get Back^
^ with John Scofield
Setlist: Soulive | The Ardmore Music Hall | Ardmore, PA | 3/3/18 (Nighttime Show)
King’s March, Steppin, Up Right, Sidekick, El Ron, Alladin, Waves, Lenny, Curse Lifter, Manic Depression%, Spark, Miller’s Last Stand, One In Seven
% with Danny Mayer