Robert Randolph and the Family Band 2005-7-29 Starland Ballroom Sayreville, NJ (dowload)
Does great music sometimes compel you to throw your hands up and let out a "HELL YEAH!", much to the disdain of your significant other/children/co-workers/etc.? Do you enjoy this guilty pleasure?
If you've answered yes to these questions, I've got just the show for you, and if you're not on your feet by the end of this one, I'll give you your money back.
(Of course, you haven't paid any money...But we'll worry about that later, OK?)
If a Robert Randolph and the Family Band show is vaguely reminiscent of every hands-in-the-air Sunday morning church service you've ever seen (think Blues Brothers, the James Brown church scene), this isn't an accident. Randolph and the band cut their teeth playing in the band at the House of God Church in New Jersey. Way back when it was founded, the church couldn't afford an organ, so they opted for a pedal steel, or "Sacred Steel", instead.
(Excerpt from a Puremusic Interview with Robert Randolph):
PM: And it's the worship instrument in the House of God more than the organ, is that right?
RR: Yeah, exactly.
PM: That's interesting, because I've always thought that it's an eerily human sounding axe. I mean, it really sounds like somebody crying and somebody laughing, you know.
RR: Yeah. I mean, that's the way we was taught up to play it, like a singer moans and groans and weeps and hollers and screams, like the old Southern Baptist singers. You know how people in church go [singing] mmm-hmmm, and do a lot of moaning and carrying on.
This show comes to us from the Starland Ballroom in the band's home state of New Jersey, and it's a scorcher right out of the gate. The band opens with "Run For Your Life", a frantic get off your ass and move kind of tune that showcases the pedal steel really well. Both the cut and the crowd enthusiasm make this sound like a show ender rather than the first song of the night. (Check out a video snippet of this track being performed at this very show. Video is shaky, but the sound quality as pretty good for the 'Tube).
It just gets hotter from there, and this is how the set went down:
Jam>Run For Your Life, I Need More Love, The March, She Waits, Shake Your Hips, Dont Bring Me Down, Everything Is Going To Be Alright, Nobody, Dont Worry Be Happy>Squeeze>Soul Refreshing>Purple Haze, Roll Up>Warpigs jam>Roll Up
Sound quality for this set is an A-, there's a few variances in volume which keep it from being a solid A. The show was taped by Tim in Jersey, thank you Tim! Photo credit.