Robert Randolph and the Family Band

The Tabernacle, Atlanta, GA, Oct. 26, 2006

Music Reviews Robert Randolph
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Robert Randolph and the Family Band

Atlanta’s Tabernacle was not filled to capacity on this night, but some of Robert Randolph’s most loyal fans were in attendance for the second night of Randolph and his Family Band’s 2006 fall tour. As the band members took the stage one by one, the energetic intensity of the venue, crowd and band climbed. The introductory beat of the drums was compounded with the induction of the bass, Hammond organ, guitar and pedal steel guitar with the man of the night taking his seat behind it. The initial cacophony of sound slowly built into a melodic blend of funk and soul that filled the 100 foot ceilings of the renovated old church. It was a musical revival that never faltered throughout the night.

Randolph kicked off the night with “Ain’t Nothing Wrong With That,” one of the early favorites from his latest, Colorblind. The lyrics of the song proclaim that regardless of musical taste, race, or economic background, “we all gettin’ down tonight,” which was a sentiment all in attendance could relate to on this particular Georgia evening. The make up of the crowd was as diverse as the band’s musical influences, and the show goers never lacked in energy or love.

The band followed with “I Need More Love” from 2003's Unclassified. As the band played hit after hit, the performance never seemed rehearsed. Witnessing the musicianship and performance style of the Family Band was like discovering an underground jam session - and the jamming never stopped. Each song fed into the next, and the instrumental interludes gathered just as much applause as the songs themselves, especially with wordless covers such as Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough” transitioning out of “I Need More Love.”

Impressive musicianship was only further infused by the performance quality of the band, and even with the cheering crowd, the Family Band was never distracted. For “Shake Your Hips,” a live favorite, women flocked the stage to provide dance accompaniment for the infectious beats and vocals. However, even the undulating action behind him could not distract Randolph from his steel pedal guitar. The show’s tempo only mellowed once, during love anthem, “Stronger.”

As the jam session continued with funky interludes and many of Randolph's signature songs, it was another cover that really demonstrated the band's effortless ability to skate across musical genres - Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love.” Not only was the song the perfect summation of the demonstrated talent and entertainment of the night, it came across as a thank you note from Robert Randolph to his fans. As the band sang, “I’m gonna give you every inch of my love,” the crowd sang it right back.