Starting this evening, New York’s Brooklyn Bowl will once again host Bowlive, Soulive’s recurring, collaborative residency at the Williamsburg venue that has seen the jazz-funk trio welcome a parade of guests since the idea’s genesis in 2010, and the Bowl is marking the occasion with a new documentary mini-series, The Bowlive Story.
Today, Brooklyn Bowl releases part one of the two-part series, “The Genesis,” which features interviews with Soulive’s Eric Krasno, Alan Evans and Neal Evans, along with Brooklyn Bowl co-founders Peter Shapiro and Charley Ryan. The documentary delves into the history of the venue itself, from the idea through the search for the space and the construction of the unique gathering spot that New Yorkers enjoy today.
“I remember people thought we were nuts,” Shapiro says of the creation of a hybrid music venue/bowling alley/restaurant, also noting that the idea of Brooklyn Bowl was born in conjunction with the idea for Bowlive, or at least an extended run from one house band. Krasno and the Evans brothers give their own take on Shapiro’s initial conception: “How did Pete get us to play there in the first place?” Alan jokingly asks.
The doc also goes into the unexpected growth of Bowlive as an event, tracing the first residency in 2010 that went from a modest crowd on night one to sold-out on night 10. Krasno remembers how Bowlive caused Soulive’s repertoire to grow from the “40-50” originals they had to hundreds with the covers they learned to cover the extended stay at the Bowl and various guest spots, which frequently see the trio covering songs by whomever is joining them on stage. The band members also speak on the impromptu nature of Bowlive, which often includes unplanned sit ins that are figured out on the stage, in the moment. “I haven’t experienced anything else like it,” Alan says plainly.
Shapiro sums up his thoughts on the special nature of Bowlive: “You want to go see the best live music—I believe—on the planet in 2019? Come to Bowlive.”
Watch part one of The Bowlive Story, “The Genesis,” below, and read more about Bowlive in our new interview with Eric Krasno. Bowlive VIII kicks off tonight at Brooklyn Bowl, with special guest Ivan Neville. Tickets and more information on the residency can be found here.