Robert Randolph & The Family Band: Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn, NY 11-23-12

What is quickly becoming a Thanksgiving tradition Robert Randolph and the Family Band has found a warm hospitable venue to stretch out pre and post turkey stuffing’s around the holiday. Brooklyn Bowl plays host to multiple nights of feel good performances as the venue seems to mesh perfectly with the artists on stage.  Now in its second year, the shows are chock full of long improvisations, guest stars and a palpable sense of familial joy. 

The group took it’s time getting started on Friday night, in fact their first appearance was actually on the TV screens around the bowling alley that were showing the NY Knicks matchup, as the group performs the theme song to the basketball teams Friday night games called “Get There”.  When the band showed up in person they were dressed formally as Robert wore a red vest and white bowtie to sit behind his formidable pedal steel and strum the mellow grooves of “Calypso” to open things up. 

“Diane” was next as Robert sang about Tennessee and “seeing her next summertime” while the band jammed around behind him. Some elongated, but decidedly laid back excursions followed as the band seemed to be weighed down a bit from all of last night’s tryptophan or their beloved Knicks blow out loss to the Rockets.  They tried to get the crowd going with their take on the hip shake with “Shake Your Hips” as hordes of females hopped on stage to join in the fun. 

After some more not particularlyexhilarating jamming the band welcomed their first and main guest of the night, G-Love. The show slowed down even more as the combo proceed to honor the Family Band’s home state with a take on G-Love’s “I Can’t Go Back To Jersey.” During the song which paid tribute to the hurricane ravaged state the MC/Guitarist lead the crowd through a few verses of “Paul Revere” dedicating it to MCA.   

With guest in tow the group played “Homecoming” and ran through a G-Love fronted version of Biz Markie’s “Just A Friend” before the set closed with a smooth and nuanced “Billy Jean” instrumental.      

The second set started off mellow but quickly hit the high point of the night as “I Don’t Know What You Came To Do?” got the band and crowd alike, jumping stomping, and clapping.  The group with G-Love on guitar continued to jam around before a cover of Prince’s “Walk Don’t Walk” was aired.  The jamming continued all set and encore with dips into random tunes like “Don’t Worry be Happy” before the band ended the night with their original, “Roll Up”.

Overall a very tame night compared to some of the bands barn burning shows, but the easy nature of the whole scene makes this run feel special, here’s hoping the tradition continues. 

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