Soul Rebels – Brooklyn Bowl – February 14, 2014
While the NBA took over New Orleans this past weekend for its All-Star game, a few NOLA bands sought musical refuge in New York City, beginning with the Soul Rebels, playing the first of two shows at Brooklyn Bowl on Friday night. If you’ve never seen a Soul Rebels show before, there’s a long list of things that you’re missing out on. But in short, their energetic time-traveling mix of cover songs woven around their own music creates one hell of a two-hour dance party.
Blink and you might have missed any number of those excellent covers, which ranged
from Bobby Blue Band’s (and a touch of Jay-Z’s version) “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City” and Hova’s own “Hard Knock Life” to Heavy D’s “Now That We Found Love” and “Nuttin’ but Love.” Later on, the encore skewed much newer, with Pharrell’s “Happy” and Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” getting the New Orleans brass treatment. The energy behind the multihorn take on these songs ran so high throughout the set that it made the idea of a DJ seem boring (although Questlove assumed his post after the show and made a musical counter-argument of his own).
The Soul Rebels’ breathless, nonstop mix of original, traditional and cover songs was backed by a collective energy that each band member helped sustain. With eight of them onstage on Friday, there was never a moment when the crowd wasn’t being prompted by
at least one Rebel, whether it was shouting Valentine’s Day–themed plaudits at them or goading them into letting loose. —Sean O’Kane