Thursday, April 18, 2013

Rainy Day/Black Crowes 4.17.2013

Chicago is flooding.

That's about 2 blocks from our apartment. Oh, and nice honk, jackass.

Saw The Black Crowes last night at The Vic. Quite a good show, even if I admit I'm not as familiar with their catalog post, say, 1998. A truly solid band, and one that, in the main, can go off on long, impromptu jams without becoming dull.

And there was a lot of that. Again, most of it was really well executed, but there were a couple of points where I felt like the song had fallen apart, only to see them strap it all back together again. It was kind of mesmerizing in the sheer audacity of it. Not to say that some of the free-form noodling didn't get a little...stultifying. I usually enjoy this sort of thing, but there comes a point where a song's going on 10 minutes or so, and I begin to feel like the band is just looking back and forth at each other, thinking "are you gonna take it? Is it my turn to take it?" I'm just thinking "wrap it up."

Now, that's a criticism, but. please, don't take that as a slam of the entire show. I think every musician that tries this sort of jam knows that often, it's just not going to make it to "brilliant." The fact is, I'm talking about 2 songs out of an eighteen song set. The Crowes (who, despite interest, I hadn't seen until last night) know what they're doing, and they are masters of it. I was particularly impressed that vocalist Chris Robinson stayed on stage, engaged, during the long instrumental breaks. I've seen so many, far too many, lead singers who look at any solo as a chance to slip backstage for...whatever.

Robinson is, truly a consummate, magnetic frontman. He didn't talk much, a few "thank you"s here and there, but he clearly formed a bond with the audience. I was also struck by the wide demographic The Black Crowes play to. There was the bikers, the hippies and the aging frat boys, and the music spoke to all of them, in some way. That's pretty special. 

I was a little surprised that Rich Robinson mainly worked as a rhythm guitarist for most of the set, leaving the soloing and pyrotechnics, in the main, to new member Jackie Green. Again, I'd never seen them before, but I'd understood Rich to be the lead guitarist. That said, Rich took the lead vocal for a cover of The Velvet Underground's "Oh! Sweet Nuthin'" during the encore that was THE highlight of the show for me.

All-in all, a really solid show by a true rock and roll band. Although, man...I Missed "Soul Singing" by one night! Biggest disappointment for me, personally. 

Twice as Hard
Good Morning Captain
Feelin' Alright (Traffic cover)
My Morning Song - Stare It Cold - My Morning Song
Ballad in Urgency
Wiser Time
She Talks to Angels
Woah Mule
Title Song
Thorn in My Pride
Been a Long Time (Waitin' on Love)

Shine Along
Oh! Sweet Nothin' (Velvet Underground cover)
Boomer's Song (Ry Cooder cover)

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