By Andy J. Gordon
The Black Crowes (www.blackcrowes.com) were on fire at Club Nokia on Saturday November 28, 2009. They took an already excited crowd to near hysteria with their brand of raucous, blues inspired rock. The show’s opener, Truth & Salvage Co., a band that has the honor of being the first signed to the Black Crowes new record label Silver Arrow Records, warmed up the audience. With a style that follows the Crowes’ blues roots, while injecting some country, soul, and roots rock, Truth & Salvage Co. wowed the crowd (www.truthandsalvageco.com).
After a short break, Chris Robinson (in the photo above) and company took the crowd on a thunderous blues rock journey. Chris and his brother, Rich Robinson, who share a tumultuous relationship, formed the band as teenagers in 1984. They have survived numerous personnel changes and a three-year hiatus from 2002-2005. Since their reconciliation, and with a lineup that has been intact since 2007, the band has reestablished themselves as one of the greatest live acts around.
Newest members, Luther Dickinson on slide guitar, and Adam MacDougall on keys, were major contributors to the night’s performance. Dickinson, who sings lead vocals and plays guitar with his other band, The North Mississippi Allstars (www.northmississippiallstars.com), only plays guitar with the Black Crowes. His soulful lead and slide guitar mastery throughout the set added a new dimension to the band. MacDougall’s keyboards offered a solid rhythmic foundation, and an occasional brilliant solo effort. Sven Pipien on bass and Steve Gorman on drums were the foundation for a booming sound all evening. Two female backup singers offered support to Chris Robinson’s vocals.
The Black Crowes set heavily featured material from their new CD, Before the Frost…Until The Freeze. They opened with “Good Morning Captain”, the first single off the new CD. Other new songs included “Make Glad”, “Appaloosa”, “I Ain’t Hiding”, “Greenhorn” and “Been A Long Time (Waiting On Love)”. Mixed in among the new songs were standards like “Jealous Again”, and “Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye”. Throughout the show, Chris’ vocals were powerful and heartfelt. The greatest moments were when Dickinson and Rich Robinson traded guitar solos.
After almost two hours of hard charging rock, the band left the stage for a short break. Their encore opened with “Descending”, which featured a beautiful extended solo on keyboards by Adam MacDougall. They closed the show with a brilliant version of Dave Mason’s “Feelin’ Alright”. The band said goodnight and the audience left exhausted and happy. The Black Crowes still deliver a great live music experience. If they can stay together as a harmonious unit, we should be able to experience their great sound for years to come.
Good Morning Captain (Before the Frost…)
Stare it Cold (Shake Your Money Maker)
Space Captain (Freak ‘N’ Roll… Into The Fog)
Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye (The Southern Harmony And Musical Companion)
Make Glad (Before the Frost…)
Whoa Mule (Warpaint)
Appaloosa (Before the Frost…)
Ozone Mama (Lions)
I Ain’t Hiding (Before the Frost…)
My Morning Song (The Southern Harmony And Musical Companion)
Greenhorn (…Until The Freeze)
Jealous Again (Shake Your Money Maker)
Been A Long Time (Waiting On Love) (Before the Frost…)
No Speak No Slave (The Southern Harmony And Musical Companion)
Feelin’ Alright (Joe Cocker)
Photograpy by Angela Dawn.