Article – Family at Birmingham Town Hall

Birmingham Town Hall – Dec 5th 1970
Tony Stewart
(Sounds, December 27, 1970)

Family have several sides to their musical abilities, on one hand the soft intricate acoustic melodies and on the other hand, pounding music. They demonstrated both to 2,000 very receptive people at Birmingham Town Hall on Friday. At first the atmosphere was very relaxed, the group sat around the stage and produced some very absorbing sounds, chatting to the audience as often as possible. Opening with ‘Anyway’ they played two acoustic numbers which illustrated the capabilities of John Weider on violin, Poli Palmer on piano and vibes and John Whitney on acoustic guitar.

Many numbers in the first set were from their new album, Including the confused, clanging ‘Norman’s ‘ in 3/4 time- but this time with the addition of vocals by Roger Chapman. The second set was heavy, starting with the powerful ‘Down The Road’? which included a very funky guitar lead. Rob Townsend thrashed around his kit providing some intricate beats. The others played a variety of instruments including Organ, Piano, Vibes, Violin, Twin Neck guitars and Six String Bass. Alas, at times the music lost It’s strength in the confusion, especially during the thirty minute ‘Song For Me’. Roger Chapman was lost at times and had great difficulty finding the key and reaching high notes, but this was reprieved by an old rock twelve-bar which sounded like ‘Bye Bye Johnny.’

But The Family concert as relieving with no electronic freak-outs, just good music, including ‘No Mule’s Fool,’ ‘Good News Bad News,’ and the extended ‘Weavers Answer’. However, a lot of disappointed fans wandered into the streets of Birmingham, only one three minute encore.

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