The Black Crowes Resume Flight With Blistering Los Angeles Reunion Show
Welcome back, the great American rock band. In a whirlwind month that saw My Chemical Romance and Rage Against the Machine fill a void with their reunion announcements, the Black Crowes are back to set the stage afire once more with their soulful, bluesy and much-needed stamp on the rock genre. Having announced their 2020 tour plans earlier in the week and debuting the new-look lineup in New York, Black Crowes were ready to talk to angels (the city of Angels) in Los Angeles Thursday night (Nov. 14).
The Robinson brothers and their new crew took over one of the country's most historic music venues, The Troubadour, ready to hold court and remind us how much they've been missed. With the venue filled to the rafters and the house sound system pumping some James Brown "Get On Up" as the band's entry music, the mood was set for a rocking good time as the band revisited their 1990 breakout album Shake Your Money Maker for those lucky enough to score a ticket.
Chris Robinson, now a little older with a salt-and-pepper beard, looked every bit the southern gentleman, sporting a black fedora and jacket as he danced about the stage to the muscular riffage of the album opener "Twice as Hard." His brother, guitarist Rich Robinson, flanked him throughout the night rocking along while each of the new members had opportunities to showcase their talents.
Keyboardist Joel Robinow made his presence felt fairly early on, tickling the ivories while helping to give "Jealous Again" that extra swing that makes it a live standout. The song stands the test of time as a fan favorite, with Robinson giving a tip of his fedora to the appreciative crowd at the conclusion of the song.
Guitarist Isaiah Mitchell's slide work accentuated "Sister Luck" and his solo in "Could I've Been So Blind" gave the track an added boost.
The night's first significant variance came during the soulful ballad "Seeing Things," which came off even slower live, allowing the audience to fully take in the angst that still cuts through Robinson's captivating rasp. Simply put, the band took us to church, with Robinson front and center as the preacher, with Robinow's keys still functioning as a central part component of the song's beauty.
"Hard to Handle" brought the night's first truly audible audience sing-along, with the entirety of the Troubadour up and moving to the Otis Redding classic. The full band kept the joint jumping with "Thick and Thin," leading into the album's monster single, "She Talks to Angels." Rich Robinson handled the acoustic opening notes, while Mitchell called upon his slide to give the track a little more bite.
Before "Struttin' Blues," Robinson made note that the band hadn't played the track in 30 years, but pulling out this classic seemed to have the group in a good mood as bassist Tim Lefevbre, Rich Robinson and Mitchell were all smiles playing off each other. Meanwhile, Robinow was brought to his feet dancing along as Chris Robinson got his strut on.
Finishing out the album in style, drummer Raj Ohja really gave "Stare It Cold" a foot-stomping beat that had people dancing in the rafters. After a brief break, the band returned with a fitting cover, tackling on the Rolling Stones' "It's Only Rock and Roll," as Robinson did his best Jagger and the Crowes elicited that good time vibe their predecessors did back in the day.
After a week that started with the reunion announcement and a well-received New York show followed by their Los Angeles re-emergence, you'd have to say it's been a success so far. The Robinson brothers have quelled past disagreements to put the focus on their music, and even more to the point on their stellar 1990 debut disc. In 2019, Shake Your Money Maker still sounds like a timeless rock classic and 30 years hasn't dulled Robinson's ability to tap into the music's angst, emotion and raw energy. This taste only leaves us wanting more and that's a good place to be as the 2020 reunion for the siblings could be quite the money maker itself.
Check out the band's upcoming dates and get ticketing info here. View photos from the night below.
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