CRYSTAL BAY, Nev. - It takes a former bowling alley to put folks in the right frame of mind.
Before it was a musical venue, the Crystal Bay Casino's Crown Room was a bowling alley. The Brooklyn Bowl is used for bowling and concerts, and since 2010 it's been the site for Bowlive, 10 nights of music hosted by the trio Soulive, which is accompanied by special guests for each performance. A four-night, Lake Tahoe version of the event began in 2012: Snowlive, which will be held for the second time starting Wednesday, Feb. 20.
So strike up the bands.
Soulive is a soul and funk trio which is accomplished in many musical styles. Its label is Royal Family Records, managed by Jeff Krasno, the co-founder of Squaw Valley's annual Wanderlust Festival and whose brother Eric is guitarist for the company's top two bands, Soulive and Lettuce. Soulive will be accompanied all four nights by the Shady Horns from Lettuce.
Soulive's rhythm section is brothers Alan Evans on drums and Neal Evans on organ.
Opening night celebrates soul music and Stax Records, a Memphis studio in the 1960s famous for artists such as Otis Redding, Albert King, Johnny Taylor, Issac Hayes and, most notably, the house band Booker T. and the MGs. Booker T. Jones will headline Wednesday's show and the featured singer is Orgone's Niki J. Crawford.
Thursday, Feb. 21 is Rock night with Robert Randolph, the Slide Brothers and Big Sam Williams.
Friday, Feb. 21 is New Orleans night with Papa Mail, Meters bassist George Porter Jr. and Big Sam Williams.
Saturday's finale features Nicki Bluhm, Papa Mali, George Porter Jr. and surprise guests.
A drummer with a distinct, aggressive sound, Evans was asked how he will change his approach each night.
"I am going to lay on you," Evans said, "the big secret: It doesn't. When I was younger, there was a lot of effort trying to learn these different styles and trying to fit into whatever. As I have gotten older - it could be laziness but I don't think so - I found my voice. It got to a point where I would listen to my recording and I liked my playing. I realized that's my voice on the drums. I play other instruments, but on the drums, this is my sound."
Also an engineer and producer with his company Playonbrother, Evans produced On the Spot Trio's two albums. On the Spot Trio plays the Soul-Stax night's after-party in the Red Room. On the Spot Trio guitarist Danny Mayer also plays in the Alan Evans Trio, which releases, "Merkaba," its second album (see review next week in Lake Tahoe Action).
"The Crystal Bay Casino is extremely grateful to Soulive and Royal Family Records for allowing us to partake in the second year of what has become one of Lake Tahoe's premier annual events, Bill Wood, the casino manager, said in a press statement. "The lineup for this year's Snowlive is outrageous and literally no one knows exactly what the final cast will be from night to night. We can however fill you in on who will be guest starring each night with our favorite funk trio, Soulive."
Continuing with a bowling theme, concert-goers might not pin their hopes on getting walk-up tickets each night. Tickets are available online at HYPERLINK "http://www.crystalbaycasino.com" www.crystalbaycasino.com, by phone at 775.833.6333 or at the Crystal Bay Casino cashier cage. All shows are 21 and over general standing room only and smoke free. Guest appearances subject to change without notice.
The fourth annual Bowlive begins March 7 in Brooklyn.