Underestimated by the mainstream but largely adored by those in the know Family caused euphoric joy when they reformed for two special shows last year at this very venue.Initially for a one off experience Family are rightly back doing it again exactly one year on ,with this time just the one date at the Shepherds Bush Empire with a home date the night before in Leicester.
With seven albums of material to chose from , the set list was tweaked around greatly from the previous visit with the notable additions of opening slow building number Hey Mr Policeman and the Entertainment value of Processions and How-Hi-The-Li. Roger Chapman at 72 years of age shows no sign of acting maturely kept his humorous profanities to a minimum but couldn’t help mocking those caught up in the floods with tongue firmly in cheek.
The sharply dressed guitarist Jim Cregan shone throughout along with original members drummer Rob Townsend and vibraphonist John ‘Poli’ Palmer backed by a very fine ensemble of musicians .The show moved up a gear with the dynamic groove of No Mule’s Fool, the sturdy Top Of The Hill and the funky charm of both Holding The Compass and Check Out. The rasping voice of Chapman is evident on the delicate Between You And Me, the shrilling Burlesque and the mighty epic The Weavers Answer.
Encores heard ecstatic harmonies from the crowd on My Friend The Sun with In My Own Time and Sweet Desiree fulfilling an enjoyable evening. A Family get together that should happen every year.
Same time , same place next year then!
Review by Mark Taylor and Photography from Solange Moreira-Yeoell. 1st February 2014. Shepherds Bush Empire.