Words and Images by: Alex Anastas
Alan Evans Trio :: 09.30.12 :: Brooklyn Bowl :: Brooklyn, NY
Life in New York often presents tough decisions: watching Sunday night football between NFC East rivals the New York Giants & the Philadelphia Eagles, or watch some of the hottest musicians in the NYC scene? Then one remembers that Pete Shapiro delivered an amazing venue like the Brooklyn Bowl, where you can sit back and watch the game plus the music on side-by-side flat screen TVs. So it was that on a warm fall night several dozen dedicated funkateers poured into the sparsely filled Bowl for a serious throwdown of football and funk.
Openers Mr. Breakdown featured some big band boogie-woogie, getting the crowd amped with a few originals & covers, including a very appropriate take on Earth Wind and Fire’s “Shinning Star”. The falsetto harmonies, led by lead-singer Mike Kemmlein, appropriately described the vibe of the evening: “You're a shining star, no matter who you are, shining bright to see, what you can truly be”.
Next up were Shmeeans and the Expanded Consciousness, Lettuce guitarist Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff’s latest solo project. Opening with a take on The Meters' “(Keep On) Stretching Your Rubber Band”, drummer Adam Deitch quickly showed the audience how to properly pound the skins, changing up his fills more often than the Eagles were changing up their blitz packages. Segueing nicely into another tune from the New Orleans pioneers, “A Message From the Meters”, keyboardist Pete Levin worked the 'clav while Smirnoff laid down some rhythm. During the jam, the perma-grin on the face of bassist Chris Loftlin said it all, as Shmeeans declared, "Something funky right there, mind if we hangout right there for a sec?" Dirty vamps reminiscent of Band of Gypsies brought out a smirking Nigel Hall, complete with Richard Pryor shirt and fancy scarf. Hall called out the timid Sunday evening crowd, later settling in on a tasty keyboard jam with Levin, and bringing out more smatterings of smiles.
To cap off the evening we were treated to headliners the Alan Evans Trio. Furnishing their “greatest hits as well as new tunes”, the Soulive drummer led his solo band compatriots through “Velvet”, “Authoritay”, and brand spanking new number “Hot Cakes Meltdown”. With a crack of a bowling ball in the background, the AE3 gave us a love song and some counterculture trivia before they were done with us. Miraculously, their gig finished just as the Giant’s placekicker missed his second attempt at a game winning field goal. But nevertheless, good music was heard while a great game of football was watched.
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