Soulive Plays 10-Night Music Marathon at Brooklyn Bowl
WILLIAMSBURG — When drummer Alan Evans of the funk trio Soulive was first approached to play a 10-night festival at the Brooklyn Bowl in 2010, he thought the idea was crazy.
"We'd never played more than three days in one place," Evans said Tuesday as he drove to the city for the band's third annual "Bowlive" music marathon at the massive former warehouse Brooklyn Bowl on 61 Wythe Ave. "It's taxing, but it's worth it because you get to see so many people dancing and smiling, and we're having fun."
The event runs Feb. 28-March 3 and Mar. 6-10. Each night, Soulive will partner with a different guest — including John Scofield, Luther Dickinson and Citizen Cope. It was the brainchild of Brooklyn Bowl owner and nightlife impresario Peter Shapiro.
"We try to make each night as different as possible and do as much planning as possible," Evans said, noting that each day the group's practices start at 1 p.m. at the venue before their nightly performances. "Still, you never know who's just going to roll through."
With Evans' brother Neal on keyboard, and Eric Krasno on guitar, Soulive has a seemingly tireless ability to morph into various genres, and the 13-year-old band is known for its peppy, playful tunes that Alan Evans calls "soul music."
And just as Soulive has drawn groupies since its inception, certain New Yorkers are now dedicated Bowlive attendees.
"I consider Bowlive the longest and hardest festival I've ever been to," said Karen Dugan, 31, who chronicles every night of Bowlive on her blog tinyrager.com and now also for Soulive's website, since the band discovered her passion for blogging about music. During the two-week event, Dugan attends her 9-to-5 job with the New York City Parks Department by day — and virtually stops sleeping.
"It drains you of energy," she said, "but there's the excitement of new artists every time you're going."
Dugan, who stands a diminutive 5 feet tall, was crowned with the nickname "tiny rager" for her constant presence in the first row at Soulive.
She had to miss the first half of a show one night, and she recalled racing up to the front midway through to find Soulive performing with Warren Haynes, the longtime Allman Brothers guitarist.
"I started crying...These things are rare and important," Dugan said.
But the collaborative, several-day music residency has only inspired Soulive to take on other similar projects, including Snowlive, which ended last weekend in Lake Tahoe.
"We have a lot of dedication and love of our craft," said Evans. "Music would be my religion."
Doors open at 6 p.m. and music starts at 8:30 p.m. each night. A one-night ticket is $15, and a 10-day pass is $125.