Traveling up the parkway Fryday night on my way to a blues shred fest I feared I would be a little late to the proceedings. When I walked into the Stone Pony the barricade they had set up was already full aside from a small spot stage right. No wiggle room in front of it so I staked out my claim 45 minutes prior to the first band going on. No pre-show beverage consumed as is my custom, and it felt strange. Time went by quick, caught up on a few things and with a few people, and before you know it the opener hit the stage.
A night of R&B courtesy of a couple of Jersey’s finest kicked off with the Matt O’Ree band. I was kicking myself for not bringing a long lens with me, wanted to pack light, the drummer and bass player were clear across the stage and I had a couple of mic stands directly in my line of fire. Photo issues. There were no musical issues though, as Matt and company ripped through a 45-minute set. By the time they were done, I looked around and the sardine shuffle had begun.
The night’s main attraction featured Robert Randolph and his Family Band. Brothers, Sisters and cousins all Jersey born and bred held the audience to full attention for the next 90 minutes. Robert showed us three different varieties of his famed steel slide work including a very custom looking strap mounted rig. The band blended the best of R&B, Blues and gospel into a finely crafted jam fest.
I think I lasted about 30 minutes till I ran out of elbow room and began to feel the squeeze. I had my shots so I side stepped away, though an overflowing crowd and hung out for a few while I put my gear back together. Fairly certain it was sold out considering the 6 square feet by the door was the only spot in the place that you could move. With my job done, it was time for a beverage so I took a trip across the street for the nightcap, feeling high from all the great music.
The choice selections from the evening:
Matt O’Ree Band
Robert Randolph and the Family Band