Last night, banjo player Danny Barnes celebrated the release of his new ATO recording Pizza Box with a showcase at New York’s Joe’s Pub. Armed with only his banjo, a few wires and a laptop, Barnes ran through a number of solo compositions during his early-evening set. After a quick break, Barnes invited out Yonder Mountain String Band mandolin player Jeff Austin for the two song encore of “Caveman” and “Road.” Barnes recently spent time on the road with Yonder and played a few solo shows with Austin.
The festivities continued late into the night at Brooklyn, NY’s Brooklyn Bowl where Robert Randolph & the Family Band hosted a benefit for The Red Cross’ Haiti Fund & Yele Haiti. Brooklyn Bowl and Wetlands figurehead Peter Shapiro—who is currently the publisher of Relix and Jambands.com—introduced Randolph at the start of the night, as he did on the pedal steal guitarist’s first album, Live at the Wetlands. Like many of its recent shows, Robert Randolph & the Family Band’s core lineup was augmented throughout the night by keyboardist/vocalist Nigel Hall (Lettuce/Soulive). In addition, partway through the benefit, Barnes emerged to play banjo with the group on a selection of “country/gospel” songs. As previously reported, the night coincided with the 10th anniversary of the NYC-Freaks list—the Yahoo! Group that helped propel Randolph to fame.
Shortly after 11 PM, guitarist Eric Krasno, drummer Adam Deitch and keyboardist Neal Evans slowly replaced the members of the Family Band onstage until only Krasno’s Chapter 2 remained (Krasno, Deitch, Hall and special guest Neal Evans). The four musicians offered a short, soulful mini-set and were later joined by guitarist Will Bernard. Soon after, Randolph returned to jam with the group before the members of the Family Band filtered back onto the stage to perform with Bernard. The current lineup of Robert Randolph & the Family Band closed the night well after midnight. Randolph likened the evening’s collaborative feel from the stage to an old show at Wetlands or Mercury Lounge.
Barnes, Austin, Marco Benevento and Butch Trucks will sit in with moe. this Friday at New York’s Roseland Ballroom. Meanwhile, ?uestlove and Q-Tip will both DJ another benefit at for the Red Cross and Yele Haiti at Brooklyn Bowl this evening. Earlier in night, the official Freaks Ball Pre-Party will also take place at Brooklyn Bowl. The gig will feature BuzzUniverse, members of both Cliffside Push and U-Melt and other musicians associated with the NYC-Freaks list.