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Soulive, The Knitting Factory, Hollywood, CA 1/19

photo by Paul Sanguinetti

Some say that there’s no good music in LA. Whoever these people are apparently weren’t able to attend Soulive’s performance at the Knitting Factory in Hollywood, CA. After flirting with the vocal side of the musical spectrum in 2007 with their Stax release, No Place Like Soul, the group has returned to its trio roots, playing and performing in the style that the Soulive fan base has come to know and love.

The packed venue resonated with nothing but good vibes as the audience responded to Soulive’s infectious grooves. Eric Krasno was his usual self, playing clean guitar lines that were never too much or too little, and maintaining a stoic composure no matter how hot or smooth the jams got. Alan Evans seemed to have a little extra pop in his snare this evening; the drum lines were crisp and locked in the pocket, catching all the bass notes that Neal Evans could throw at him.

There’s no doubt this was classic Soulive, but with all the added benefits of some new material. An excited patron shouted, “Let’s hear some Stevie,” and sure enough the trio busted into their rendition of “Jesus Children,” a sweet and bluesy take on the Wonder classic. Not long after they kept the crowd going with “Outrage,” one of the few instrumental tracks from their latest album. This tune was full on funk with uptempo drum shuffles, streaming keyboard comps, and unrelenting guitar leads.

As if things couldn’t get much better, or funkier for that matter, E.D from Lettuce came out to join the band for the encore, illuminating the stage with his big red beard and lighting it up on the bass. It was a fine finish to a solid set. There were no frills or fluff on this night, just straight good tunes and good people at a good venue. The crowd loved it and showed this with effortless movements and head bobbings- just ask the guy who was front row playing air drums the entire night.

The boys are back and sounding as good as ever but then again they never really left.

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