Sunday, September 30, 2007

Soulive is worth seeing again.

Given the band's performance at the Roxy last night, I have to question whether they were ever not worth seeing. Maybe that New Year's show at BB King's in 200X was just a fluke. Back then, the the guys seemed exhausted and unispired.

But they've found new energy. Soulive has followed the same career trajectory (thus far) of Kool and the Gang. Jazz band goes ghetto, then gets singer(s) and starts cranking out heavy-ass soul-funk. New singer Toussaint seemed right at home on the stage. Drummer Alan Evans has evolved into a monster, powering the band through every subgenre worked into the show. He's become a great soloist to boot. Neal Evans is still a madman, and Krasno is now shredding on a Telecaster in addition to his Ibanez semi-hollow.

There was a liberal dose of their best jazz material, like "One in Seven," and many, many new songs featuring Toussaint on vocals, like "Don't Tell Me" and "One of Those Days." The ethereal "Bubble," a jammy, yet soulful instrumental, stuck in my head strongest. Too bad the studio version doesn't do it justice--the band's rediscovered energy was palpable last night. That they closed their set with "The Ocean" (yes, Zeppelin) proved that they were there to rock the fuck out.

So what if 50% of the crowd was college dudes with bad afros? It was worth being around them to be part of the communal, eardrum-destroying experience.



Blogger Meghan Byrnes said...

the guitarist in soulive went to hampshire and i played ball with him sometimes. even though he was much older and therefore cooler than me, he always remembered my name, even after he left campus. and now i can't remember his. kraz, i think we called him. anyway, really good guy. i have a great recording of soulive (they were also known as "lettuce" back then) playing at a house party on campus in '99. those were good times.

2:47 PM  
Blogger Meghan Byrnes said...

yeah, i probably should have read your post all the way through before commenting. his name is krasno. i remember stuff.

i'll have to go see them next time... been in the mood for some good funk.

2:50 PM  

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