Tag Archives: Robert Randolph and the Family Band

One last look back at 2011

Here’s my 2011 list of concerts.  A little shorter than some years, but I had a lot of work distractions in the past year, so it’s actually a pretty good tally all things considered.  There’s a lot of quality there and a few once in lifetime shows.  I’ll make a few individual notes where appropriate  (But, of course there’s a review of each if you’re so inclined to read more.

Phil Vassar – A nice little private show at the PCMA conference for people with a CMP designation.  Fun and loose show.

Robert Randolph & the Family Band

Chromeo – A bit of a letdown, but I’m still hoping to see them again and see how they evolve.

Richard Cheese & Lounge Against the Machine

Delgado Brothers

Jeff Beck & Imelda May – Once in a lifetime and one of the best shows I saw all year.

Prince – Another show that for all the hype was a bit of letdown.

Doheny Blues Fest – Tedeschi/Trucks, John Fogerty, Experience Hendrix, Mavis Staples, The Blasters, Funky Meters, Big Head Blues Club, (Plus others) – Two great days on the beach.  A couple misses, but mostly hits. Tedeschi/Trucks being the very best of day 1 and the Blasters the best of Day 2

KSBR Birthday Bash – Brenda Russell, Kieko Matsui, Brian Bromberg, Dan Siegel, (Plus others) – A really cool gift from my friend Eliott.

Eels – Confounding and complex.  It was great in some very unexplainable ways.

U2 & Lenny Kravitz (2x) – Night 2 was the better of the two nights, both were strong but night 2 has the edge (pun intended).

Weird Al

Kansas & Blue Oyster Cult – Not very good, one of the most disappointing shows of the year for me.

Rock Candy Funk Party – Going back in January, a top five evening and surprisingly it’s not once in a lifetime, looking forward to it very much.

Barenaked Ladies – Good, but not great.  More and more I miss Stephen Page.

Return to Forever & Zappa Plays Zappa – I’d say that along with Jeff Beck this were the most amazingly talented musicians I saw all year…or in many years.

Frank Turner – My best find of 2011.  Seeing him in February once again!

Fountains Of Wayne – I wanted this to be better, bit it wasn’t up to the pervious levels I’d seen them perform at.

Airborne Toxic Event – Another cool find of 2011 and this was the Filmore show in SF that was really cool.

Big Head Todd w/Ruthie Foster and Charlie Musselwhite – Again, a sort of letdown show and slightly disappointing overall.

Airborne Toxic Event, Tokyo Police Club, Built to Spill – Good headliner, the rest of the bill was hit and miss.

Bob Segar – Just reviewed, the man still has it!  Great show.

So there you have it.  My 2011 in a nutshell.

Looking ahead to 2011 I already have four shows slated.  Joe Bonamassa, Frank Turner, Social Distortion and Roger Waters.  Plus, I know Springsteen is touring.  So, lots to be excited about in the coming year.  Thanks as always for reading!  Happy New Year!

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Robert Randolph and the Family Band

What a smokin’ show!

I’ve been in Orlando working for over a week and was ready to relax a little.  As fate would have it, Robert Randolph was in town my last night before I flew home.

Having seen him previously, I was optimistic that it would be a good show.  I’d seen him garner standing ovations from two Eric Clapton crowds, a Dave Matthews Band crowd and at the Doheny Blues Fest a few years back.  But, I’d never seen him headline his own show.  After a quick dinner in downtown Orlando I made my way to the Plaza Theatre.  The Plaza is an old movie house turned concert venue.  Sadly, it’s not some magical place like the Pantages or the Fox Theatre.  But, instead it’s a non-descript 70’s sort of building that was repurposed for live music.  But, I can’t complain too much, the slight lines were good, the sound decent and the lighting (basic) but good.

Oddly though, I had carefully picked an aisle seat in the sixth row which turned out to be the first seats BEHIND the standing room only area.  Which guaranteed I’d be standing all night.  I’d have made a different choice had I known and wished the  seating map had been a little more clear.  But, honestly…folks don’t sit down too much at a Robert Randolph show.  The band was tight, funky and obviously having a blast.

They hit the stage to a recording that kicks off their most recent release “We Walk This Road” and tore into “Traveling Shoes” one of the standout cuts from the album.  But, the fun really kicked into gear on the third song “The March”, and instrumental jam that brought out the best in the multi-instrumentalist, multi-talented Family Band.  By the fifth song, “Shake Your Hips” which borrows liberally the riff from ZZ Top’s La Grange, not just the band was jamming, but so were the 25-30 ladies that he’d called onto the stage from the audience to dance along with the band.  After the ladies exited and band tossed off a quick and spirited version of “Dry Bones” from the new CD things got really interesting.

“If I Had My Way” from the new CD morphed into a repeated chorus of “Black Water” from the Doobie Brothers before jumping back into the last verse of the song.  From there in his words it was “back to 1982…” as the rhythm section broke into “Thriller” with Robert Randolph performing the Michael Jackson lead vocals on his petal steel.  I’d seen You Tube clips of him doing MJ stuff (in fact I found one of Thriller and will post at the end), but this jam was strong and funky enough to have a room full of mostly middle aged while folks dancing around like it was a Soul Train dance audition.  I’ve seriously not seen a whole audience dancing away like that in a long time.

From Thriller next we got “Ted’s Jam” from his live EP, and then he brought out a guest.  Introduced as a 16 year old named Conrad who “wanted to be a rock star” (he is also apparently blind) he led on and was handed a Telecaster…which he proceeded to shred on trading licks confidently with Robert on a great version of Purple Haze.  The kid shot for the moon, covering Hendrix and carried it off in damn solid fashion.  I wish I knew his last name…

He wasn’t to be the last guest as a couple fellow from the audience were brought up and allowed to play on a long jam.  The first guy was garage band level, the second guy slightly better.  Neither of them were amazing, but it was just such a fun vibe it worked just fine.  This a band that really reaches out to the crowd and really wants everyone to be having fun.  For the last song of the main set “I Need More Love” the opening act (which I’d missed) were brought out to all join in.  Once again, it was obvious there was no ego (despite the fact that he’s maybe the preeminent player of petal steel in the world), this was a bunch of guys playing music they loved and loving every minute of it.

After a short encore break they came back for “Ain’t Nothing Wrong With That” and then a long jam which consisted of everyone in the band swapping onto different instruments, including his sister slamming away on the drums and his cousin playing his petal steel while he played bass.  Yes, they really are a family band, brother and sister with two cousins.  The next time you see they are playing, just go…trust me on this one.  You’ll have a great time.

Here’s a version of Thriller I found on YouTube to give you an idea.

 

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How do I top last year?

Well, it’s already been a couple weeks and I still haven’t really figured out how I can ever top the amazing year I had last year.

They just announced the Coachella line up….do I finally take a stab at it and go?  The headliners don’t look that interesting, but the rest of the bill has some great bands….hummm, stay tuned on that question.  I snagged a ticket to see Jeff Beck for the first time with Imelda May (who I saw at Glasto and Hop Farm).  Small place and a cheap seat at the back, but it’ll be cool to finally see another legend that I’ve never seen before.  I have to be more cautious after the expense of last year, so I suspect that this year will be more smaller shows  Frankly, those are often better shows to see.  So, we’ll see how it all plays out.  I’ll miss Glasto when it arrives and likely wish I could be back there….maybe someday?

I’ve seen one show so far, however it was a private concert at a trade show I attended in Las Vegas.  Phil Vassar, a country artist.  I have to admit that it was a heck of a show.  In a smallish ballroom at the MGM Grand with just Phil and  piano.  I wasn’t familiar with his music, but he played some hits (I’m told)….Little Red Rodeo, Six-pack Summer and My Next Thirty Years are all songs I recall hearing and listed on his greatest hits CD.  But, more than that…he was a heck of an entertainer.  He played so many covers, I can’t even bring them all to mind.  But, there was an awesome sing-along on his version of the Billy Joel song Piano Man.  He seemed genuinely happy to be on stage and really had a lot of audience interaction.  He even signed CD’s for everyone after.  And it wasn’t the quick “hurry them through” method.  He took time to chat and pose with everyone, asked questions and discussed things like where we were from and really seemed to be having fun.  A terrific experience and a cool guy.  I plan to check out more of his music, simply based on having such a positive experience.

Really buried with work, but it looks like I may see Robert Randolph and the Family Band in Orlando in a few weeks.  I’ll have more more to say about that I’m sure.  In the meantime…here’s some Robert Randolph as a bit of a tease…Hope you all enjoy it!

 

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