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by Ryan Snyder

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BROTHER JOSCEPHUS & THE LOVE REVIVAL REVOLUTION ORCHESTRA — Live at Brooklyn Bowl

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Great live albums have the ability transport the listener directly into the front row, putting the band’s mix in one ear and the exuberance of the crowd into the other, but sometimes nothing can actually replace being there and experiencing it firsthand. Live at Brooklyn Bowl, the live release by Brother Joscephus & the Love Revival Revolution Orchestra, is one of those times, but that’s only because BroJo’s nondenominational Gospel of Love is meant to stoke you visually as much as it does aurally. You’re compelled to simply imagine the 12-piece orchestra juking and jiving though their white-clad travelling Mardi Gras circus sets. It makes the album’s opening track “Brooklyn Bowl Parade” — a hash of horns, call and response, and hype — seem a little confounding as a standalone track, though the moment’s loosey-goosey energy would be a little more evident with the horns pooping out of the mix a little more. The picture becomes clearer with “A Child Shall Lead the Way,” where BroJo’s raspy, authoritative and uplifting voice takes hold. Live at Brooklyn Bowl still succeeds in being a rollercoaster of emotion, from the explosive jazz-funk of “Make Love to Your Woman!” to the sweetly swaying Queen cover “Somebody to Love” to the immensely soulful “I Still Love You.” Sensing a theme? The set list is almost entirely different than their self-titled debut, meaning they’re not opposed to taking on new material, but the band’s vitality is more deftly conveyed through the exactitude of the studio. Even that doesn’t compare to seeing the band live, so just skip the middleman and check out a show.

70/100

Brother Joscephus & the Love Revolution Revival Orchestra will perform at Downtown Live in Winston-Salem on Thursday and at the Blind Tiger in Greensboro on Friday.

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