Last night, I found myself back at , and since it’s the first week of March, that can mean only one : Bowlive! ’s annual residency at in its third year — kicked off this week some great shows all around. Thanks to a photo pass hook-up from our friends at Calabro , I joined a packed house at the Bowl to watch tear through and funk classics guest appearances by , , Queslove and , along the cast of characters from the Royal Family. Read on for my short review and full photo gallery…

Last night’s guests provided a really nice mix for the to a lot of territory. They ripped through plenty of their patented jazz-funk, dropped a killer instrumental Beatles medley, and brought out the full slate of guests for some big-band JB’s style funk classics. At set-break, busted out his solo beat-boxing routine to rile up an already-rowdy crowd with some silliness and lots of muffle beats and blips. Then, the Evans bros and joined for an opening vamp that seemed to be improvised on the spot (side note: I’d love to see do this kind of open-ended improv more often). At that point, the crowd was nicely amped for set two which featured Soulive’s -standard instrumental Beatles medley, including of Lennon/McCartney classics like “Come Together,” “Eleanor Rigby,” and “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”…clearly a crowd favorite. It was pretty amazing to hear 500+ people boisterously singing along to ’s melodic take on classic Beatles vocal lines, and it definitely provided a highlight of the night.

After that, they brought out and on horns along with on drums for a big-band revue, hitting on classics like ’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered.” This section of the show featured some rippin’ horn solos by Denson and Big Sam, soul-stirring vocals from , and plenty of fun funk teases, including a quick take on ’s “Pass the Peas” and ’s “Soul Power.” The teases and on-the-spot rhythmic change-ups felt totally natural and offered a nice glimpse into the sheer musicianship of all of the players on the stage.

With so much energy in the room, it really struck me that this was just one show out of ten that the band would be playing over the course of two weeks. But if they were pacing themselves, it definitely didn’t show. As the band left the stage, there were lots of smiles and hugs to go around and Alan Evans left us on a high note with a simple “See you tomorrow.”


WHITperson -- aka Marc Whitman or simply "Whit" -- is a long-time LMB contributor known for his in-depth posting style and his knack for crafting interesting podcasts. Whit currently resides in Brooklyn, where he's building up his web development chops and hoping to put his technical skills towards something interesting in the music world. Follow his updates over at whitperson.com...