Click the photo for an audio slideshow of the last night's concert. Photos by Chris Kornelis.
Listen here to Robert Randolph and the Family Band perform "Ain't Nothing Wrong With That," live at The Showbox.
Robert Randolph and the Family Band Date: March 7, 2007 Venue: The Showbox Would Meatface Approve? Yes, but he wouldn't know that Randolph didn't write "Jesus is Just Alright."
"Let's call a spade a spade," a friend told me less than 10 minutes into Robert Randolph and the Family Band's set last night. "This is a jam band."
Fine. There was plenty of jamming, lotsa solos on the pedal steel, heavy hands on the Hammond organ and steady moments of improvisation. But, this jam band (if we must) sucked the marrow out of the genre and left the rotting carcus of directionless riffs, mandolin and 40-minute snoozers behind. And although Randolph did slip into a few moments of self-indulgence, he quickly righted himself, stalling trips to the exit.
The show played out less like a Panic attack than a well-meaning DJ, weaving effortlessly between the Doobie Brothers, Hendrix, and back to the Doobies. For the first hour of his set, Randolph scarcely touch his own material. There was never even any mention that the band was pitching a new album, in this case, last year's Colorblind.
The crowd didn't have a problem with the set list. Quite the contrary. The repertoire had the hodgepoge of hipsters, boomers and hippies doing their thing. The bars were packed and well lubricated, pockets of the dancefloor were flush with booty-shakin' — which he eventually invited onstage, and fetched at least 20 women — and the guitar geeks in the front drooled over the gear, even before the set started. One onlooker was invited on stage toward the tail end of the set. He held his own very well.
What? And Simon Cowell thinks we got nothin'! Well, dig this SC: this mohawk-clad axe-man could shred the figgy pudding right out of your precious Il Divo!