By Andy J. Gordon
The Alan Evans Trio (AE3) played a live show at The Mint on August 21, 2012 and the show proved that Evans can jam without his brother Neal, his longtime band mate with Soulive. The new trio recorded their debut studio album in 2012 called Drop Hop. They are touring the country and at The Mint show they played most of the songs on the new album as well as some choice covers.
Alan Evans is a guitarist, vocalist, writer, recording engineer and producer. However, he is best known as the drummer for Soulive the funk, soul, rock, jazz and improvisation band that has been on the jamband scene for over ten years. Evans embarked on this side project recently, but he is still a key part of his primary band. The new trio is touring during a gap in Soulive’s busy schedule. AE3 came about when Evans produced the debut album for On the Spot Trio, guitarist Danny Mayer’s band. Mayer was a Soulive fan and Evans was impressed with Mayer’s sound during the recording sessions. Evans had also been doing side gigs with organist Beau Sasser for a while and thought it would be fun to get Mayer and Sasser together to see what kind of musical magic developed. The studio results were so good that they decided to record an album and the Alan Evans Trio was born.
The Mint show followed a recognizable pattern for anyone familiar with Soulive and Alan Evans. The songs were mostly instrumentals with Evans laying down a funky, soulful beat on the drums and occasionally throwing in some vocals. Mayer and Sasser took turns playing extended solos. They opened the show with “They Call Me Velvet” a hip shaker that featured a great solo by Mayer. “Authoritay” and “Croooz” from Drop Hop kept the crowd bouncing. Evans introduced a brand new song called “Biscuits” that they have not recorded, but its hypnotic beat fit nicely into the vibe. Two more songs from Drop Hop, “The Meters Runnin’” and “Whistlin’ Willie” came next. Mayer did a long solo on “Meters Runnin’” that used some trippy pedal effects. Before launching into “Whistlin’ Willie” Evans explained that it was a tribute to his dad, a former NFL running back with the alliterative nickname. “Rum Runner” was another song from Drop Hop that was short, sweet and had a bass heavy organ beat. The title song of the new album “Drop Hop” sounded like the theme song of the old TV series Peter Gunn with a hypnotic recurring riff.
They wrapped things up with “The Lay Down” from an album that Evans’ mixed and released in 2011 called The Big One by Crushed Velvet & The Velveteers. The track had a real 70’s vibe which makes sense since the album was supposed to be the soundtrack for a 1974 Shaft-meets-007 Blaxploitation film called The Big One which never made it to the big screen. Mayer used a wah wah effect for his extended solo which had the audience grooving to the beat. The final song “Check Your Lugnuts” from Drop Hop had a mesmerizing riff and continued the 70’s soul flashback vibe that was inherent throughout the show. Evans kept up the pounding beat while Mayer tore into another sick guitar jam and Sasser laid down some tasty organ wizardry. The Alan Evans Trio may be new to the scene but their sound is old school and their skills are top notch.
Photos courtesy of Andy J. Gordon and AE3