Review: Royal Family Ball in Denver

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I know on Before the Bigs we post a ton of hip-hop, but seriously, you don't know hip-hop if you don't know the jazz side of it. This past weekend had jazz/hip-hoppers Soulive descended on Denver, Colorado for two days, for what they called, the "Royal Family Ball." They would perform two epic shows alongside their funk bretheren Lettuce and the hip-hop/breakbeat group Break Science. Each would be epic, with over 5 hours of music each night, and luckily, I was able to attend the Friday show, the first night of the party. Read the rest of the review after the jump: I got to the show around 10, with Soulive's set already in full swing. I got there in the middle of the run of Beatles covers they have been playing this tour, Come Together -> Something -> Eleanor Rigby -> I Want You (She's So Heavy), all off their latest album, Rubber Soulive. Check out their take on "Come Together" [soundcloud url=""] Soulive is a trio, consisting of a Eric Krasno on guitar, Alan Evans on drums, and his brother Neil on keys, which includes playing the bass with his left hand, yet they have a much bigger sound. They were able to take each song to an epic peak before slowing it down and just chilling in some smooth, head nodding grooves. Along with each band member being able to simply shred on their instrument, they all can play so soulfully as well. Midway through the set, the 3 piece horn section joined them on stage, adding new energy to the group. The group then went through some of their older originals, absolutely crushing each song in the set. They had come to down in January, but I have to say, this show raged! My favorite song of the set, and one of my all-time favorite Soulive songs is "Vapor." Check it a live version, but not from the same show, below: [soundcloud url=""] Soulive's set was at least an hour before they got off stage to be replaced with the tighter, more old school funk of Lettuce. Soulive extended each song more like a jam band, while Lettuce's jams were more like them keeping the groove with everyone in the group taking solos. Check out this video of Lettuce performing "Back in Effect" that night Either way, Lettuce absolutely killed it as well. I'm not too familiar with their individual songs, but I know they grooved hard and I there wasn't a song I didn't enjoy. They moved from James Brown-esque 70s style funk to more slowed-down, gritty stuff. Check out one of my favorites from the group, "King of the Burgs" [soundcloud url=""] Lettuce's set ended around 2 am, with Break Science still to play, and although I do enjoy Break Science, I could not bring myself to stay awake until at least 3. I left the show happy and satisfied with my 4 hours of music. Soulive and Lettuce are both awesome bands that you need to check out when they come to your town. Follow Soulive on Facebook and Twitter, and you can stream tons of music from both bands on the Royal Family website. If you really like them, support Soulive and Lettuce by getting some of their music from itunes.

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