5.5 thoughts on Robert Randolph & The Family Band at Vinyl
Grand Opening, September 20, 2012
Fri, Sep 21, 2012 (1:28 p.m.)
Photo: Scott Harrison/Erik Kabik photography
1. From my first step inside, I love Vinyl. The room is exactly what it needs to be and nothing more. There’s easy access to the bar, side tables and stage; and ample room to wiggle into the front-and-center dance party or kick back away from the crowd. I had some great nights at Wasted Space, but Vinyl is a much better use of Hard Rock acreage.
2. With Robert Randolph sitting at his pedal steel guitar he’s almost eye-to-eye with the audience. The folks up front track every move of his nimble hands, and each time Randolph raises his gaze a smirk crosses his lips as if he’s amused by how much we’re all enjoying ourselves.
3. On “The March,” Randolph leads us through a dance that looks cool when he does it but makes me feel like I’m having a seizure. (Not that I stopped trying.) On “Get Back,” his little sister lets her big voice fly, while Randolph jerks from his chair as if possessed. On “People Get Ready,” Cousin Joey takes lead vocals. Halfway through the song Randolph points to the sky and Joey sings the second verse in a falsetto so pure and unexpected it has the crown whooping.
4. The Family Band is a true family affair, complete with siblings, cousins and token white guy Brett Andrew Haas on keys, guitar and harmonica. I’m not sure where the Randolph clan celebrates Thanksgiving, but I want an invite. I’ll bring sweet potatoes, and home brew, and apple cake!
5. This is how you open a venue. There’s hip shaking, coordinated clapping, a spontaneous sing-along and plenty of foot stomping. Hall and Oates might have a bigger crowd down the hall at the Joint, but Vinyl is the place to be tonight.
5.5. Before closing out the set, Randolph invites his friend “Jim” up to join the band on guitar. I find out later that he’s actually James Dolan, CEO of Cablevision, owner of the Knicks and Rangers, and founder of blues-rock band JD & The Straight Shot. Wonder what he’s doing in Vegas …