The Royal Family Ball, Terminal 5, NYC – 10/15
Photos by Karina Rykman
Terminal 5 held Saturday night’s Royal Family Ball starring Soulive, with special guests, Lettuce, Pharoahe Monch, Rahzel, Raul Midón, Roy Hargrove and The Shady Horns. Surprise guest James Hurt joined on the last song of the evening.
This evening started with Lettuce guitarist Adam “Schmeeans” Smirnoff DJ’ing for the first hour before guitarist Raul Midón joined the stage. Midón is a one man band/guitarist, who sings while hitting congas, strumming, and recreating vocal mouth trumpet sounds to create an explosion of jazzy, latin flamenco-style beats.
With members of the crowd wearing gold paper crowns, paying homage to “Royalty,” the Soulive power trio were next to join the stage. Soulive mood set the mood with one of their earliest compositions, “Turn It Out.” In addition, the trio brought out a few new songs, one of them being “DIG”, sounding like a sultry-soft lounge beat building to a deep, funky groove. A few favorites from Rubber Soulive were also played (“Something,” “Eleanor Rigby”) before Raul Midón joined the trio to play a stirring cover of John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy”, and special guest Roy Hargrove blew the audience away with a trumpet solo.
After Soulive’s set, master beatboxer Rahzel joined the stage imitating the bass, drums and vocals. Rahzel taught the audience what beatboxing was, taking the stage by himself for about 15 minutes before he introduced the night’s final funky act, Lettuce.
Lettuce, with bassist E.D. Coomes, keyboardist Neal Evans, saxophonists Sam Kininger and Ryan Zoidis, guitarists Eric Krasno and Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff, and drummer Adam Deitch, is a powerhouse, and began to close this evening with a crescendo into a funky meltdown.
Hip-hop artist Pharoahe Monch came on the stage and Lettuce brought the beats for hard-hitting songs like “Desire” and “Push.” Roy Hargrove came back on the stage for “Breakout” and surprise guest James Hurt set up his small synthesizer keyboard while Lettuce jammed around him for a crazy “Sam Huff’s Flying Ragin’ Machine.” Hurt finishes off rolling around on the stage with his keyboards, and everyone in the club, including the band, laughed and braced themselves in for the final raucous song of the evening.