Craig Robinson loves his band, The Nasty Delicious, mainly due to the chemistry and artistic expertise each member brings to the stage. He also loves his electric foot massager, mostly for its ability to snuff out torturous, untimely foot cramps.
Let’s all just hope he doesn’t have to decide which one to bring on the road with him, as Craig Robinson and The Nasty Delicious are slated to fill Medford’s Chevalier Theatre with some jazz, some funk, and a whole lot of fun come Friday night (April 6).
Throughout the 11 years since the conception of The Nasty Delicious — a band comprised of David Sampson on guitar, Asa Watkins on drums, Winston Byrd, Lakecia Benjamin and Reggie Hines on the horns, and Robinson’s brother, Chris, helping out on the keys — Robinson has balanced his work behind the keyboard alongside his bandmates with a laundry list of on-screen work. That includes his roles as Darryl Philbin on The Office, Nick in the Hot Tub Time Machine duology, and even leaving his verbal footprint on a few voice-acting gigs, like Shrek Forever After and Sausage Party.
But even with a significant amount of silver screen notoriety and a few awards and nominations under his belt, it’s the lure of mystique and chemistry on the stage that grabs the Ghosted star’s attention the most.
“In acting, if you make a mistake, you can go back and fix it, but if you’re on stage and your voice cracks, or you hit a sour note or whatever, it’s all out there, you just ride with it,” Robinson tells Vanyaland. “That’s the most exhilarating part, because a live show gives you that immediate response, whereas in acting, you have to wait for the project to be put together, and then you have to wait for people to see it before you get that reaction,” he adds. “Also, in acting, you have a whole team of people making decisions, while in music and comedy, I’m the captain, so there’s a bigger sense of control and responsibility there.”
The Second City alum thrives from that sense of responsibility on stage — a responsibility to lead, to adapt and improvise, and to give the crowd what they came to see — and more often than not, he’s met with as much adoration as he gives.
“Before I go out on stage, all I want to do is just make a connection, because once you make a connection, whether it’s with the crowd or the band, or both, and everyone is on the same page, you can go anywhere,” notes the Chicago native. “There’s no better feeling than connecting with the crowd through my message and my comedy, and blending the music in with it. When we blend all of that together, it’s just the greatest thing that I get to do.”
Robinson may not be familiar with the new venue he’ll be occupying at the end of the work week, but he’s familiar with the reception he and his band get when they come to the area, and that is something he is more than excited to embrace again.
“We love playing in Boston, because the people in the city are very aggressive with their hospitality, and I’m a very huggy person.”
At the end of the day, Craig Robinson and The Nasty Delicious aren’t looking to become rock stars. They aren’t trying to join the ranks of any of their influences like Prince, James Brown, or Nirvana. They aren’t even expecting you to take your panties off like they say in the song of the same name (well, maybe). Their main mission, when they hit the stage, is a light-hearted one, and in these strange and trying times, a very necessary one, at that.
“We’re just looking to get out there and have some fun,” Robinson admits, “and to leave you in a little bit of a better mood than when you got there.”
CRAIG ROBINSON AND THE NASTY DELICIOUS :: Friday, April 6 at the Chevalier Theatre, 30 Forest St. in Medford, MA :: 8 p.m., all ages, $27 to $39 :: Advance tickets :: Chevalier event page :: Featured image via the Chevalier Theatre