Dear Santa Claus,
Paraphrasing boxing legend Muhammad Ali, I want you to know that “Robert Randolph is a baaaaad man!” Christmas came early this year as Vinyl Music Hall gave the gift of rock n’ soul to another sold out crowd in downtown Pensacola. Robert Randolph and the Family band made their Vinyl debut and brought The Constellations along for a ride that set off the Richter Scale with earth-quaking, booty-shaking madness.
Already confirmed for a Vinyl headlining show on Saturday, April 16th, The Constellations started the party with their Atlanta, Georgia blend of dance-rock goodness. With frontman Elijah Jones’ smooth vocals, Jamie Gordon’s insanely intense keyboard skills, Wes “Fro-Bot” Hoffman’s mastery of bass and cool hair, Trevor Birdsong’s Fender Tele-cool style, Jason Nackers slick drums skills, and the duo of Shabnam Bashiri and Alaina Terry holding court with knockout vocals and all-things percussive, the group know how to party and put on a show. The band delivered the music magic that Pensacola has come to enjoy from all of their performances, torching the stage and heating up the crowd for the headlining act.
If the makers of the Guitar Hero create another follow-up to their videogame franchise, they better have Robert Randolph on the cover. The pedal steel virtuoso wields the Sacred Steel Guitar and evokes the craziest sounds from blues, rock n’ roll and even metal. Supported by his Family Band, Danyel Morgan (bass), cousin Marcus Randolph (drums), Adam Smirnoff (guitar), sister Lenesha Randolph (vocals) and Brett Haas (keyboards), Randolph rocked the crowd into a mix of elation, celebration and dance. The music revival was so strong that I had to look up a few times because it felt like Randolph and company were tearing the roof of the place.
In case you didn’t see the show and you plan on seeing them soon, be warned of the following paragraph
If it wasn’t enough that the Pensacola crowd was treated with a helping of The Constellations followed by Robert Randolph and The Family Band, imagine the wild time that ensued when the two bands joined forces and rocked out a few songs including Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta’ Love” toward the end of the night.
As Randolph enticed the venue with Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child,” the guitar hero introduced the members of his band, each one stepping forward, acknowledging the crowd and exiting the stage. Now left alone and center stage of the sold-out venue, Robert Randolph gave one last gift to the crowd. “If you feel good about life, scream a little bit. Thank you so very much. May God bless you. We’re Robert Randolph and The Family Band. We love you, Pensacola.”
-Michael L. Smith