Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday Soul - Royal Family Re-cap

Last Sunday I previewed the Royal Family Get Down that took place yesterday. Despite the ominous clouds that threatened all day long, and a few sprinkles periodically falling, the show went off as planned, and what a show it was!

Unfortunately, I arrived last and missed the Charlie Hunter Trio's set, but I arrived just in time (about 5 minutes before) to catch Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. Grace is someone who I picked up on the first year of this blog, and I've been a fan of hers ever since, seeing her several times live over the years. The Nocturnals' line-up was a partially new one though, with a few new faces. Their set featured a lot of their new material as well as some as of yet unreleased songs.

Next up was the group that I was most eager to see, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings. Sharon has come close to me in the past, but not close enough to be convenient. Originally I wasn't even aware that she was on the bill, so when I found out, it was like a double jackpot. The Dap-Kings started the set up without her, getting the funk going, but when she hit the stage, that's when it really started to groove! When I say she was incredible, that's an understatement. Think of a female James Brown, and you'll get a sense of her energy level from beginning to end. I was simply floored by her showmanship and cannot wait to see them again.

To close out the evening came the band responsible for the whole shin-dig: Soulive. From the get go, they grooved hard. Early in their set they had Nigel Hall come onstage to do some vocals for them, performing Too Much from their latest release Up Here. Then, Sharon returned to the stage for a revelatory version of Stevie Wonder's Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours. If only I had that recorded; you had to be there to believe it. Sharon and Nigel left the stage, Soulive performed a few more instrumentals of their own, and then the incredible jazz guitarist John Scofield joined the group (whose album A Go Go drummer Alan Evans credits for being the inspiration for the group forming in the first place), taking the music even deeper into the jam pocket. Scofield left a few cuts later (long, long cuts), with Soulive taking the stage back over. A few songs later, a few new guests from the brother/parallel Boston funk band Lettuce joined the stage to perform with Nigel Hall once again taking the mic to add vocals. Scofield returned AGAIN, and the band finished off their set with a smokin' cover of Curtis Mayfield's Move On Up. At that point, I headed home after a long day of some great music. The band returned to the stage for an encore, but at that point, I was on my way home

Several times during the Alan Evans made clear that they hope to make the event an annual one, so if you missed the inaugural event, keep your eyes open for next year. I'm not sure how they'll be able to top this one, but I'm willing to find out.


JD Beebe said...

Only caught from the dap kings on, but DAMN did Soulive, Scofield and the Lettuce stand ins rock it! Awesome that you covered this and it's made it's way up hypem! My one wish is that Deitch and the Lettuce crew had played more and rocked with John for a song or two.

Look forward to next year.

Sean said...


Counting down the days to the next one already. Who the heck can they bring on board to top this one...I'm waiting to see. It was great to see Soulive really enjoy themselves up on stage and revel in the incredible evening that it was. They deserve some big props for putting it together.

JD Beebe said...

I have no idea how they top themselves next year- maybe double the length of their set and constantly introduce one jazz/funk legend after another.

The show got posted if you haven't grabbed it yet:

Sean said...

Holy cow! Thanks for the link JD, I had not noticed that it was up for the listening. You certainly made my day - I can't wait to listen to it again!