Saturday night in NYC was one for the books with the double header of Soulive and Galactic bringing the funk to Terminal 5. The packed house was buzzing with excitement, ready for a double dose of funk provided by some of the best in the biz. The addition of the legendary Cyril Neville to Galactic’s set made for a particularly special show, highlighted by memorable covers of The Meters, Bob Dylan, Curtis Mayfield, the Pointer Sisters and more.Soulive opened strong with their classic “Hat Trick”, during which guitarist Eric Krasno channeled his inner Jerry Garcia vibe for a short measure. Drummer Alan Evans then took to the mic to introduce everyone before delving into a new tune, “Common”. The band weaved seamlessly through “Common” into an older classic “Shaheed” before crushing on another new one called “BB Gun”. The trio slipped the new songs in without throwing the crowd off with the newness, but the diehards who knew, knew. It was perfect placement and flawless.New Orleans staple Galactic was next on the docket and ready to bring the funk hard. The band got the crowd into the NOLA spirit from the start, entering the stage to Carnival tunes resemblant of a Mardi Gras morning. They kicked things off in high spirits with a track off their latest album, “Sugar Doosie”. Frequent guest singer Erica Falls joined on shortly after, leading the band through newer track “Right On” into a funky cover of Curtis Mayfield’s “Hard Times”. A powerful rendition of their “Dolla Diva” kept things grooving before delving into Rebirth Brass Band’s “AP Tureaud”. The energy in the room exploded as Cyril Neville took the stage, introduced as “the greatest soul singer alive” and ready to prove himself worthy of that title. The New Orleans legend came out grooving to a cover of The Meters’ “Gossip”, for which Neville provided vocals on the original. Continuing with the theme of keeping it in the family, he then busted out “Tell Me What’s On Your Mind”, a Neville Brothers throwback.Neville briefly departed from the stage as Soulive/Lettuce guitarist Eric Krasno joined on for the very funky “Cineramascope” off Galactic’s Ya-Ka-May. A soulful guitar solo quickly escalated into a rocking jam, prompting a massive dance party from the audience. Falls returned to the stage to aid on one of the band’s most well-known, feel-good tracks, “Hey Na Na”. As the band has cycled through several guest singers over the years, this song has been tested out by its fair share of vocalists from across a wide spectrum, including David Shaw of The Revivalists and Maggie Koerner on the studio version. While each of these contributors adds a little something different – Shaw more of an edge perhaps, and Koerner a softer feminine touch – Falls’ dominating stage presence and booming voice on this song really knocked it out of the park. In this moment it was clear that she has gotten into her groove with the band and established herself as a key member.Falls continued to shine with the highlight of the show, a powerful rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Like A Rolling Stone” that had everyone singing and dancing along. She then left the stage as the band was joined by saxophonist Ben Ellman’s cousin, Lucas Ellman of Chicago-based band The Heard, leading the funk army through a grooving rendition of Watts 103rd St Rhythm Band’s “65 Bars And A Taste Of Soul”. Neville rejoined the group for a heavy Meters double header, segueing into a cover of “No More Okey Doke” and following it up with “You’ve Got To Change (You’ve Got To Reform)”, all the while maintaining the good spirits and high energy in the room. Neville left the stage to make way for Falls to close out the show with a crushing version of the Pointer Sisters’ “Going Down Slowly”, her electrifying vocals filling over the room for one last time before the encore.After a short break, the quintet returned to the stage one last time to play an older original, “Funky Bird”. Finally, Falls and Neville both came out to bring things to a close with The Meters’ “Africa”. The combination of the two dynamic vocalists along with seasoned funk veterans Galactic was out of control, and funk levels were at an all time high with everyone vibing together on stage, raging properly and showing New York how NOLA does it.Setlist: Soulive at Terminal 5, New York, NY – 3/26/16Hat Trick, Common, Shaheed, BB Gun, One In Seven, Revolution, PJ’s, TuesdaySetlist: Galactic at Terminal 5, New York, NY – 3/26/16Set: Sugar Doosie, Right On, Hard Times, Dolla Diva, AP Tureaud, Gossip, Tell Me What’s On Your Mind, Cineramascope, Hey Na Na, Like A Rolling Stone, 65 Bars And A Taste Of Soul, No More Okey Doke, You’ve Got To Change (You’ve Got To Reform), Going Down SlowlyEncore: Funky Bird, AfricaPhotos by James Bell. Full Gallery: Load remaining images
… Shastri on mission to keep India at No.1NEW India head coach Ravi Shastri will tomorrow look to prove his team remain the world’s best Test side when they take on Sri Lanka in the first of three matches.Shastri, who took over the demanding role after Anil Kumble’s acrimonious exit last month, has backed India to continue the “fearless brand of cricket” that helped them regain the No.1 position last year from Pakistan.While India lost the Champions Trophy final to their arch-rivals, the Virat Kohli-led side are on a roll after winning 10 of the past 13 Tests, overcoming top sides like New Zealand, England and, narrowly, Australia.“They know their job. They are professional cricketers. Once they step on the field they take over. That is how it should be,” said Shastri, who became head coach after Kumble quit over his “untenable” relationship with Kohli.“My role will be to get the guys (to) express themselves and play (a) fearless brand of cricket,” the former all-rounder added.While India start as overwhelming favourites after the seventh-ranked Sri Lanka scraped past Zimbabwe in a one-off Test last week, Shastri has warned against complacency.“Sri Lanka can’t be taken lightly at home. Their track record playing at home is as good as any other team. We would look to improve in the series,” said the 55-year-old.The visitors have played a two-day warm-up game in Colombo with returning batsman Shikhar Dhawan among the scorers.India could start with three spinners and use left-arm wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav with the experienced Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.Ashwin said Shastri’s presence has always had a “postive influence” on the team, adding that the players were looking to work together with the coach for some amazing results.“Ravi has been a fabulous person to have in the dressing room. Even when he was here last time, we lost that Test in Galle and (he) really picked us up from that low point in our careers,” Ashwin told reporters yesterday.Sri Lanka, whose new Test skipper Dinesh Chandimal has been ruled out after being hospitalised for pneumonia, will need all the experience of stand-in-captain Rangana Herath.The left-arm spinner, who took 11 wickets against Zimbabwe and his 31st five-wicket haul in 81 Tests, is key for Sri Lanka.Sri Lanka’s pace lineup has been bolstered by the return of veteran Nuwan Pradeep, who is likely to start at Galle International Stadium.Dhananjaya de Silva adds muscle to their strong batting arsenal, comprising former captain Angelo Mathews, Upul Tharanga and Niroshan Dickwella.Sri Lanka’s interim coach Nic Pothas said the team should take inspiration from Kohli’s men who overcame a 1-0 deficit to beat the islanders in a three-Test series in 2015.The triumph resurrected India’s fortunes as they registered their first series win in Sri Lanka for 23 years and went on to become the No.1 Test side again a year later.“I think we probably are in the same situation that Virat was talking about the Indian team being in a few years ago. We are in that rebuilding phase,” said Pothas.The South African, who took charge after Graham Ford’s exit last month, added he was focused on changing the team’s culture and unleashing their potential.
It would be a stretch to call last season’s performance by the USC women’s tennis team a disappointment. The Women of Troy finished the season ranked No. 19 in the final Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings and had several players perform well enough to advance deep into the postseason.Serves up · Junior Danielle Lao, ranked No. 16 in singles this year, registered a 26-13 overall record in singles play last year as a sophomore. – Daily Trojan file photoBut given the recent history of success the team has experienced under USC coach Richard Gallien, it’s no surprise that this year’s squad is looking for more.“To stay in the top 20 in the country was certainly not our goal, but considering how few people we had ready [last season], I think we did quite well,” said Gallien, now in his 17th season with the Women of Troy.Prior to the 2009-2010 season, USC had finished ranked no worse than No. 11 in the nation this century. The 2009-2010 season’s final rankings saw the team at No. 20, followed by last season’s finish at No. 19.Last year’s squad was hampered by mid-season injuries to key players, and the lack of depth affected the team’s performance. This year the Women of Troy face another huge obstacle before the season has even started in replacing senior Maria Sanchez, who graduated last spring after finishing the season No. 3 in the nation.But the Women of Troy have plenty of returners to make up for Sanchez’s departure, including junior Danielle Lao, who finished last season ranked No. 23 in the ITA rankings and was named second team All-Pac 10.Lao believes the team is in a good position to move forward without Sanchez.“You can’t replace a player like Maria Sanchez,” Lao said. “But we’ve got a lot of strong freshmen coming in who are eager and hungry, so we’re looking forward to a good season.”That group of freshmen, ranked as the second best recruiting class in the country according to TennisRecruiting.com, consists of Gabrielle, DeSimone, Giuliana Olmos, Sabrina Santamaria and Zoe Scandalis.Gallien expressed his excitement about this group of new players.“Although we lost Maria [Sanchez], we also gain one of the top recruiting classes in the country and I expect all four [freshmen] to play and contribute,” Gallien said.Though this new batch of freshmen will be relied on this season, a former highly touted recruit is also expected to be a top contributor: sophomore Kaitlyn Christian.In her first season playing Division I tennis, Christian teamed with the aforementioned Sanchez to form one of the top doubles teams in the country. The pair advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA doubles championships, the farthest any USC women’s doubles team has ever been. This year, however, Christian is looking to top that mark.“The big goal would be to win the Pac-12 and NCAA championship,” Christian said. “But right now we’re just focused on working hard.”Christian credits Sanchez as a key contributor to her own personal success. She looks to experience some of that same success the two experienced last year with a new partner this season.“Maria taught me a lot,” Christian said. “She’s probably one of the best players I’ve ever played with, so hopefully I can carry some of that success into this year.”Christian is listed at No. 60 in the preseason ITA rankings of individual players after finishing last season at No. 90. Lao currently sits at No. 16.Teamed with other returners, such as Valeria Pulido and Allison Ramos, Gallien is looking to return to past success.“With the players we have coming in and the returners, I really do think we should be back in the top 10 and make a solid run at a championship.”The Women of Troy open the season this weekend at the Nike Invitational at California.