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Soulive comes together at the Belly Up

Paul Hernandez

Fusion is the best way to describe the New York-based band, Soulive, who incorporates all genres of music the past to present.

The trio builds its foundation of sound around keys (Neal Evans), drums (Alan Evans), and guitar (Eric Krasno) drifting in and out of all territories of music that incarnates and captivates soul and funk at its best. They are heavy words to describe a band, but Soulive’s performance at Belly Up last Thursday proved its breed of fusion can make an unforgettable experience.

Local band Earful opened the act and set the tone with its seven-piece outfit, forcing anyone’s funky bone to get loose before the main course of tight grooves made its way to the forefront.

Then Soulive took the stage.

The process of an upbeat vibe never gets old, especially when it comes to music that provides the pleasure of people grooving in numbers. It’s a process, no doubt, from start to finish that interlinks fans to bands. Once Soulive took to stage, that’s what happened. It only took seconds for the crowd to lock into Alan Evans’ shuffling beats, Krasno’s foregrounding guitar, and Neal Evan’s furious organ riffs.

By the second number, Krasno’s guitar had fused from soul boogie jazz riffs to fuzzed induced rock ‘n’ roll treatment. Alan’s backbeat tempo increased in speed while Neal Evans’ ambidextrous talent managed to keep balance and rhythm with his left hand on his bass keyboard, while busting out solos between clavinet and Hammond B3 organ with his right hand. The obvious talent of musicianship made it easy to focus on one, but difficult to focus on all three at the same time.

Alan Evans and crew continued their marathon of soul by bringing new life to classic gems by classic masters based of its latest venture of instrumental mastery from the album “Rubber Soulive” (a collection of all-time Beatles tunes). The trio dove head first into the bluesy jived version of, “Come Together,” and proceeded into Krasno’s guitar playing lead vocals into another “Abbey Road” gem, “Something.” I like to think George Harrison was looking down in proud astonishment.

Klasno continued to be in the foreground of interpretation, leading the onslaught of Beatle mania into, “Eleanor Rigby.” Krasno’s guitar grew furious and gentle between the melodies that led into a hard progressive version of, “I Want You (She’s So Heavy),” where Neal Evans hands-turned-bass perpetuated and sustained the groove that highlighted the ensemble.

The trio returned to stage with a three-piece horn section that engaged and engulfed the soul of Stax and pride of James Brown, keeping the dance party alive and well into the early a.m. of the next day. Making it clear that Soulive provides the soundtrack to my kind of party.

For more information on the band check out its website, www.royalfamilyrecords.com/soulive

For more information on upcoming shows at Belly Up, check out its website, www.bellyup.com

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