Thanksgiving came early at Brooklyn Bowl, where Eric Krasno and WhyHunger Amplified teamed up for a specially curated charity benefit concert that made sure no groover was left musically famished. Providing critical resources to support grassroots movements and fuel community solutions, WhyHunger is an incredible non-profit organization working to end hunger and advance human rights to nutritious food in the U.S. and around the world. Their first Annual Hungerton Kick-off Concert showcased Eric Krasno & Friends featuring Ivan Neville, Tony Hall, and Nikki Glaspie, with special guests Celisse, Matisyahu, Emily King, Molly Tuttle, and Robert Randolph. Tapping into the transformative power of music, Amplified helped to raise charity donations and awareness about the solutions to hunger as well as its root causes. The concert event jump started the holiday spirit of giving as Eric Krasno & Friends lit up the Brooklyn Bowl like the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree.
As avid lovers of Eric Krasno’s live performances, we were expecting another jazzy and funk-fueled night from the virtuoso. However, from the get go, we could tell the sit-in artists were definitely guests of honor as they individually led their performances with house band: Eric on guitar, Dumpstaphunk band mates Tony strumming bass and Ivan rocking the keys, as well as Nikki holding it down on drums. Ivan kicked off the night with his original track “Greatest Place On Earth,” a big band jazz and funk tune dedicated to his hometown of New Orleans. Next up, Eric led an original soul track of his own, “Leave Me Alone,” which ended with a fiery solo. He then dove right into Jimi Hendrix’s “Fire,” which would set the tone for the night.
The first guest to come out was long time friend of Eric, Robert Randolph. He led with his original rock and gospel infused tune, “Ain’t Nothing Wrong With That,” an absolute banger as Robert made his pedal steel guitar sound like an enraged pastor commencing an exorcism to send a demon back to the fiery pits of hell. To quell the raging blues that just ensued, Eric brought up Zionist and reggae, rapping legend Matisyahu. Matisyahu ended the first set with euphoric sing-alongs and unique beatboxing performing Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff” and his original track “One Day.” You could feel the emotional sentiment of the audience during “One Day” as some were arm over shoulder and the crowd became a vocal ensemble.
The charity soiree kept on giving as Molly Tuttle kicked off the second set with a solo acoustic guitar performance of her original song, “Crooked Tree,” and simultaneously transformed the Brooklyn Bowl into an old, backcountry Hootenanny. Next up was NYC native and contemporary R&B vocalist, Emily King, who after starting with her feel good track, “Distance,” would begin a full-scale cover song barrage. The only way to describe the rest of Emily’s performance was a true ‘soulsgiving’ as she warmed hearts at Brooklyn Bowl with covers of The Isley Brothers “Work to Do” and Bill WIthers “Use Me” accompanied by local artist, Celisse, on guitar. Celisse continued the party, playing her track, “Get There,” as well as expressing her gratitude for being able to play at the Bowl, a venue she always dreamed about playing at as a young artist. The set ended with a guitar trio counterpoint onslaught, as Robert Randolph came back out with Celisse to perform “Ramble On” by Led Zeppelin. At this point, the crowd was just trying to find their jaws as they dropped straight to the floor.
The most impressive performance of the night was the encore, which included all musicians as well as Peter Levin from Trouble No More sitting in on the organ. The ensemble covered “Love The One You’re With” by Stephen Stills and right in the middle of the song, Robert Randolph spotted longtime friend and incredible vocalist from Georgia, Ryan Shaw, who came up to harmonize with the group for the rest of the song. It was truly a family affair.
📸: shot by Kaitlyn Owings