Words and Images by: Alex Anastas
Robert Randolph & The Family Band :: 11.20.12 :: Brooklyn Bowl :: Brooklyn, NY
With age comes wisdom, and for Robert Randolph & The Family Band, a thoughtful song-writing craftiness as well as ability to time his setlists appropriately have helped shaped his live performances. Still keeping it all in the family, Robert continues to have his trusty rhythm section relatives of Danyel Morgan and Marcus Randolph on bass and drums, respectively, but has added guitarists Brett Andrew Haas and Joey Williams to fill out the overall sound. Not a regular touring member of the band anymore, Jason Crosby also joined the band on keys and a few fiddle solos at the rear of the stage. The first of a four-night Thanksgiving run at the Brooklyn Bowl, the Family Band took the stage, and upon hearing the rudely deafening crowd chatter, opened with “I’m Not Listening” off their most recent studio album We Walk This Road. Introspective and apropos, the opening track warmed the mid-week audience as it smoothly segued into a foot-stomping phrasing of Bob Dylan’s “Maggie’s Farm”, complete with excellent backing vocals from Randolph’s sister Lenesha. Always reflecting positivity, “Soul Refreshing” kept the crowd boogieing and featured an awesome ripping solo from front man Randolph, showcasing his best expressive faces as he leaned his emblazoned pedal steel guitar back and forth with every bending note. “I Need More Love” included several Michael Jackson teases, sexiest was in/out romp through “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” ending with a full blown dance party filling the stage with beautiful female audience participants. As quickly as the chaos ensued, Randolph eased everyone back into the night with a tasty funked up take on the Bill Withers' classic “Use Me”, including a few lines of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”. Robert Randolph & the Family Band did a superb job of reminding the New York audience of harnessing the holiday spirit: “Way down inside, you need it, I’m gonna give you my love.”
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