Funk-gospel performers Robert Randolph and the Family Band and indie rocker Ace Enders are scheduled to perform at the annual Homecoming concert Oct. 24. This year’s concert will provide a line-up that diverge from last year’s more alternative bands, The Ting Tings and The Cool Kids.
According to AMP Music Committee Chair Seira Nakagawa ’10, both bands were highly sought after by AMP.
“Even if people don’t already know who they are, when they play, people just want to keep listening,” Nakagawa said.
Robert Randolph and the Family Band, based in Orange, N.J., includes pedal steel guitarist Robert Randolph, bassist Danyel Morgan, drummer Marcus Randolph and pianist Jason Crosby. Their music has appeared on television shows such as “Grey’s Anatomy,” “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Malcolm in the Middle,” as well as the 2007 dance flick “Stomp the Yard.”
Robert Randolph was listed in the 2003 Rolling Stone Magazine list of “Greatest Guitarists of All Time,” and the band’s debut album “Unclassified” was nominated for two Grammy awards that same year. Their more recent album, released in 2006, “Colorblind,” sounds like the classic jams from Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Lenny Kravitz, Stevie Wonder and the Dave Matthews Band.
Robert Randolph gained recognition before touring with the band, after his start as a gospel musician in his hometown in New Jersey. However, the religious undertones can be scarcely heard beneath the funky guitar, melancholy bass and modern lyrics. By 2002, they were hired by ABC to create the network’s NBA theme song, which was used in promotional videos and early telecasts. Their radio hit “Ain’t Nothing Wrong With It” has been used both in NBC commercials and Discovery Channel promos.
On stage, the members are as electric as their music. In previous concerts, fans have jumped onstage to dance — and Randolph himself is known to drop his guitar and “get down” with the crowd.
“Their music is so much fun,” Nakagawa said, “It will be a great atmosphere, with the concert at Lake Matoaka and everything.”
Ace Enders is a solo artist, from Hammonton, N.J., and is a former lead singer and guitarist of The Early November. He began his solo career in 2004, working on an album entitled “I Can Mess Like Nobody’s Business” that same year. He opened for the Angels and Airwaves U.S. tour in 2008 and began touring with the All-American Rejects in spring of 2009. He is also the sole owner of the record label Regular Music.
“I feel like Ace Enders can appeal to college students — they are more indie and have sound that contrasts to Robert Randolph’s,” Nakagawa said. “They’ll be a good opening band.”