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Published: 2012/03/04

Karl Denson, The London Souls, Jennifer Hartswick and More Join Soulive at Bowlive

Photos by Allison Murphy

Karl Denson, The London Souls, Jennifer Hartswick and Nigel Hall all shared the stage with Soulive on Friday night. The performance was the fourth show of Soulive’s annual Bowlive residency at New York’s Brooklyn Bowl.

The London Souls—whose Bowlive appearances in 2010 catapulted the band onto the national jamband scene—opened the night with a short, 30-minute set. The brief spot was actually only the trio’s second performance with their current lineup: Guitarist Tash Neal and drummer Chris St. Hilaire formally introduced new bassist Stu Mahan during an underplay performance at Brooklyn, NY’s Cameo the night before.

Like the first two nights of their Bowlive run, the members of Soulive kicked off their first set without any special guests, but brought out Karl Denson after a few songs to play on the original tribute to guitarist Melvin Sparks, “Spark.” The song is part of a new Soulive/Denson EP, which is dedicated to the late fusion guitarist. Trey Anastasio Band trumpeter Jennifer Hartswick then joined Denson and the members of Soulive for another track off the Sparks tribute, “Provo” as well as Soulive’s “Nubian Woman.”

Next, Hartswisk put down her horn and moved to the front of the stage to lead the ensemble through a bit of Aretha Franklin’s “Rock Steady.” Shady Horns saxophonist—and regular Soulive collaborator—James Casey also sat in on the song and remained onstage as Nigel Hall emerged for one of Soulive’s now trademark covers, Tears for Fears; “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.” The song moved into the first set’s final song, Bobby Caldwell’s “Open Your Eyes.”

Soulive kicked off their second on their own, but later brought out London Souls’ guitarist Tash Neal for a take on Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s political anthem “Ohio” (never one to be left out of a jam session, Denson picked up a tambourine and took the stage as well). The core members of Soulive then jumped into Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Lenny.” After the cover, Denson returned the stage to play flute on “Turn It Out” and remained onstage as Casey, Hartswick and Hall returned as the group busted into “For Granted.” The ensemble then brought the set to a close with “Jesus Children of America.” The night then segued into a DJ set by Wyllys and Kraz.

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