Monday, February 21, 2011

Robert Randolph & The Family Band @ Port City Music Hall 2/19/11

Photo As Seen On
Music is like food.  You've got your good, wholesome, organic music, and then you've got your bad artificial prepackaged garbage -- loaded with fillers.  Good music is sustaining and nutritious to the body and soul, while bad music leaves you unsatisfied and malnourished.  So what exactly am I getting at?                                          
We (we being my sister and I)  took the train up to Portland Maine on Saturday to see Robert Randolph & The Family Band perform at the Port City Music Hall, and was curious as to how their live performance would fare.  

But first, before any proper meal is consumed, one must set the table.  Port City Music Hall, stylish and industrially chic,  creates an intimate ambiance and provides a functional slab for performers to roll out their dough.  Shortly after arriving and throwing back a bottle of local ale, we made a b-line to the front of the room and waited for our appetizer to arrive.  It wasn't long before the hall resembled a can of sardines packed tight, and I was wishing I didn't wear a black turtleneck despite the bitter February temperature.
The Constellations, a spunkypsychafunkadelic act from Atlanta Georgia was the appetizer.  They came on strong with a barrage of flavors igniting the enthusiasm of the crowd.  They did a good job, and I really liked their implementation of the cowbell.  I got the sense when this band is not performing on stage, they are probably eating hummus and twig sandwiches and using composting toilets.  

And now for the main-course:  

Robert Randolph & The Family Band took to the stage after a brief set change and were  welcomed heartily by the audience.  For me, the real meal was about to commence.  I knew that this amazing band, marinated in style and class, were about to set the room on fire.

Robert Randolph knows how to jam.  Right off the bat and throughout the night he cooked up some of the most amazing music  my ears have ever heard.  He, and his band, are ridiculously talented.

The band's ability to blend the influence of American roots music with a funk, blues, gospel sound has created a unique genre bending doorway into uncharted territory.  They have the ingredient others seem to lack when fusing new sounds together: salt.  
Each song turned up the heat a little more.   This was a dancing, sweaty, happy drunk crowd.  I have to give credit to Robert's fans, as they seem to be a crust above your typical concert goer.  More astute to quality sound and supporters of live music, these conscientious fans connect on a deeper level of shared values, music, and a sense of community.   

Just when I thought I couldn't possibly like this band anymore than I already did, they performed the most brilliant cover of Dylan's Maggie's Farm.  It was at that moment, in my mind, Robert Randolph & The Family Band took their rightful place of honor in my musical pantry.

Photo As Seen On
So what was on the band's menu that made them hard to pass up?  Mainly songs off the band's new album "We Walk This Road" and the talented Robert Randolph's undeniable ability to break the barrier of front-man stereotypes.  He has brought pedal steel out of the pulpit and into the spotlight, and has started a new course in music history. 

Suggested Listening: 

The band's latest album We Walk This Road

Visit the band's official website here

Portland Maine on Budget:

Who says you can't have your cake and eat it too?  There are ways to experience the lap of luxury while saving a pretty penny.  The key is having a plan in place, and sticking to your budget.  Take advantage of off season rates at lavish hotels.  Go green and utilize public transportation.  Avoid pricey room service and eat where the locals go.  Portland Maine is a beautiful city, with lots of history and charm, and is the ideal backdrop to relax, see a show, and enjoy quaint New England.

Travel -   I didn't feel like driving, so we took the Downeaster from Dover to Portland.  Taking the train is a fun way to get in party mode!

Graffiti  Art Mural at Train Station in Dover NH

Lodging - We stayed at The Eastland Park Hotel in the heart of the arts and shopping district.  This 1920's historic hotel has all charms one would expect, but for me especially, it usually boils down to the three L's: Location! Location! Location!    



Food - We took a break from out diets for the evening and ordered pizza!  What could be better than that?

How about the worlds most perfect margarita!  Top of the East is the only rooftop lounge in Portland Maine. 


    1. Sounds like a perfect winter weekend :) ( if you can't swing florida :)
      But....hey.....were you hungry when you wrote
      this ????:)

    2. It was! And yes I was hungry when I wrote this :)