Soulive Jazzes up Skybox

By David Siegel (Collegian Staff)

On Friday night, Soulive and Project Logic co-billed a long awaited show at the Skybox on the top floor of the Campus Center. Project Logic opened the show while the capacity crowd continued to shuffle in. The renowned DJ Logic, who is known for his groundbreaking fusion of old-school record spinning with a live jamband, leads Project Logic. Some of Logic’s most interesting work came this past summer at the Berkshire Mountain Music Festival when DJ Logic jammed with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones only mere minutes after having been introduced to the band. That performance demonstrated DJ Logic’s skill of working his spinning in with some very different and diverse types of music. Although Logic’s performance on Friday did not cross any particular genre boundaries, his skills were very evident.

The highlights of this set were two cover songs that were recognized from their very first notes by the mostly college aged crowd. The first of these songs came about halfway through their 90 minute set was ‘Bubble House,’ a song by the popular jazz trio Medeski, Martin and Wood. Although this song quickly reached its end, it transformed the crowd into a feverish mass of grooving bodies. This peak of high energy was not reached again until towards the end of the set when they broke out into ‘Cars, Trucks and Buses’ by the greatest jamband of them all, Phish. Not knowing what exactly to expect from the entire Logic Project, I was pleasantly surprised by the skill and explosiveness of this five-piece band. I was especially impressed by saxophonist Casey Benjamin, who came out as a guest for a few songs with Soulive.

As Soulive was preparing to come onstage, the huge Skybox crowd piled in with anticipation of yet another great performance in the Pioneer Valley by this explosive jazz trio. With Eric Krasno on guitar, Neil Evans on Hammond B-3 and his brother Alan Evans on drums, this band has been selling out shows all around the country. They plan on taking their groove worldwide as they embark on a tour of Japan later this month. The band made their way onstage and started things off right with a very spirited ‘Steppin’,’ with a nice extended jam. Alan Evans then got up and introduced the next song in his usual explosive manner. The song, ‘Bridge to ‘Bama’ is off of their new album Doin’ Something which is set to hit stores on March 13. Next, Soulive invited Project Logic’s sax player Casey Benjamin on stage for a voluminous rendition of ‘It’s Your Thing’. Benjamin remained onstage for a cover of James Brown’s classic ‘Sex Machine,’ which was taken to a whole new level with his screeching and soaring saxophone. Next up was the so-called short version of ‘Jesus Children’ off of their album released last year, Turn it Out. To bring this great evening of music to a close, the band broke out an extended ‘So Live’.

As far as I am aware this was the biggest production that the Skybox has ever put on. I certainly hope that it is a sign of things to come, as the show was trouble-free. It goes to show that it simply takes a band of this caliber to bring hoards of people to this gem of a nightclub.