Tag Archives: Leo Nocentelli


Tinariwen: Magical, Beautiful and Difficult to Resist

March 25th, 2014

Tinariwen – Brooklyn Bowl – March 24, 2014

Tinariwen - Brooklyn Bowl - March 24, 2014
Tinariwen are one of those bands that can be all things to all people. There’s the Tinariwen as culmination of a fascinating backstory. There’s the Tinariwen as a metaphor. And, of course, most important, there’s Tinariwen the collective of musicians, playing excellent music all across the world. All of these were onstage at once Monday night at Brooklyn Bowl, and which one you saw was a purely personal experience, from the enthusiastic young guys chanting and waving flags to the middle-aged fans clapping along to the young Brooklynites dancing the night away.

The Malian music group seemed to know no boundaries, turning a brick-and-mortar bowling alley decorated with a disco ball and big screen TVs into a transcendental tent, orange and yellow lights of the desert on the ceiling, with room for all within. The set list drew largely from Tinariwen’s new album, Emmaar, and the musicians, and the words they sang, seemed to blur into a single communal experience. Electric guitars growled and moaned in helical patterns—was it with sorrow or was it with joy? Either or both or neither, you decide. With a popping electric bass and simple rhythmic percussion, this was mostly dance music: magical, beautiful, difficult to resist. The musicians clapping and twisting hypnotically felt just as vital to the experience as the musicians twisting the unique guitar solos, somewhere between Leo Nocentelli and Robert Johnson by way of the Sahara.

The encore encapsulated the night in three pieces: The first began with Abdallah Ag Alhousseyni, alone, chanting and playing acoustic before the band slowly grew, duet, trio until all six played as one, with little boundary between Tinariwen and the audience. The second piece was the funkiest of the night, the electric bass speaking the international language of groove. Finally, the percussion-dominated closer was a rhythmic cacophony, the dancer onstage moving in increasingly faster and more complicated fashion—either he was forcing the band’s tempo or vice versa, but the crowd tried to keep up regardless. The night ended with smiles all round, free of boundaries, at least until the magic wore off. With a final bow, the band repeated the only English words they had uttered all night: “Thank you.” —A. Stein

Photos courtesy of JC McIlwaine | jcmcilwaine.com


Get Ready for Bowlive IV: Eight Crazy Nights in Brooklyn

March 6th, 2013

The soul-funk trio Soulive—Alan Evans (drums), Neal Evans (Hammond B3) and Eric Krasno (guitar)—formed in the late ’90s and has been bringing its own bluesy, jammy brand of jazz, funk, classic rock and R&B to the dancing masses ever since. Krasno joined the brothers Evans for a recording session in Woodstock in 1999, which eventually became their first EP, Get Down! A host of studio albums, EPs and live discs followed, including 2010’s instrumental take on the Beatles, Rubber Soulive. But despite the trio’s recorded virtuosity, far and away the best way to experience these guys is live. Which works out great because with Bowlive IV beginning tomorrow, you’ve got eight chances to see them in person. That’s right: Soulive (above, in highlights of last year’s Bowlive) play Brooklyn Bowl eight times between now and 3/16.

And as always, there will be special guests galore, like Luther and Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars on Thursday, Robert Randolph, Lee Fields and the Expressions, and Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds on Friday, Nigel Hall, DJ Logic and the Alecia Chakour Band on Saturday, a tribute to Stax Records with Booker T. Jones on 3/12Los Lobos frontman David Hidalgo and the London Souls on 3/13, George Porter Jr. and the Shady Horns on 3/14, Leo Nocentelli, George Porter Jr. and the Shady Horns on 3/15, and the Alecia Shakour Band and the Shady Horns on 3/16. Plus, this is Bowlive, and the only way to know which unannounced special guests will show up is if you show up yourself.