UPDATED: Last Night: The Black Crowes at House of Blues

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Photos by Jason Wolter
UPDATED (Tuesday, 9:55 a.m.) to correct the mandolin player on "She Talks to Angels."

The Black Crowes
House of Blues
April 26, 2013

Over the past nearly quarter-century, Chris Robinson's lyrics have shown no lack of religious imagery. Angels and devils exist side by side in the lines of his notebook, and various jubilees among congregations go off with fiery fervor. Not surprising, as their second album, The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion, was named for an actual old gospel hymnal.

So it's only fitting that last night's Black Crowes concert was a bit of Sunday-night church, a faith-restorer in how a great rock and roll show can come from a band extremely comfortable in its own skin (or feathers), and who draw from their musical influences without being slavish to them, creating something that is...well...Crowesian.

If fact, the Black Crowes (the band, not the Night's Watch from Game of Thrones) have an interesting career in 2013. They drop records sporadically -- live and in studio -- when it where it suits them on their own label. They do no press interviews, haven't had anything resembling a radio hit in ages, can go on hiatus for years and them come back with a rejiggered lineup, yet still have enough of a dedicated fanbase to sell out the nearly 1,200-capacity House of Blues on a Sunday night -- with dozens turned away at the ticket counter.

It was simply one of the best pure rock and roll shows I've seen in a quite awhile, and one of the finest I've seen from the band ever.

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The band clicked on all levels musically as the interplay between original members Chris (vocals) and Rich (guitar) Robinson and Steve Gorman (drummer), along with Sven Pipien (bass), Adam MacDougall (keyboards) and new guitarist Jackie Greene. The last in particular had some big Crowes feel to fill in the wake of Marc Ford and Luther Dickinson - and did so more than admirably.

But it was Chris who commanded the show and...actually had a good time! The sometimes surly frontman admonished not a single person in the crowd (much less had someone removed), and had a smile on his face somewhere between goofy grin and higher ground musical bliss the whole night.

The rail-thin, heavily haired 46-year-old also exuded amazing energy at the mike and with unique dance moves just as identifiable with him as Jagger's is to that front man ("Moves Like Chris?"). The audience certainly picked up on the positive vibes, though would have likely appreciated a bit more stage patter from the normally loquacious singer.

Interestingly, the set list was something of a Greatest Hits Tour, leaning heavily toward the first four, most commercially successful records and their best-known songs.


Location Info

House of Blues

1204 Caroline, Houston, TX

Category: Music

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10 comments
rkfoehner
rkfoehner

I've been a fan since the beginning and there is no band better or as timeless as The Black Crowes! My son and I met the band and they were kind, professional and genuine. The show was awesome from the first note to the last!! Perfect Memory!

GlenW
GlenW

Wow, I wish I could have gone.

slugger52
slugger52

Decent review. One thing though, the song "Hush" is actually written by Joe South. A very underrated composer famous for penning songs like "Walk a mile in my shoes", Rose garden" and "Games people play". As a huge fan of the Black Crowes myself, I'll see the band in Karlstad in July. It will be their first gig in Sweden since 2001 when they supported Neil Young.

First TBC show: Hultsfred festival 1991 Last TBC show: London Forum X2, Easter 2013

/Jonny

lonianderson1979
lonianderson1979 topcommenter

sounds like a great night with the best rock n roll band around!

carolwenokur
carolwenokur

That's Jackie on mandolin during Angels, not Sven. Otherwise, great review.

Mont Hoyt
Mont Hoyt

good times but too may "hits" played last night. I know Jackie is still learning the songs so they are keeping it pretty basic this tour. Always a fun time though

MadMac
MadMac topcommenter

Fun review, Mr. R. I've never seen the Crowes owing to the rep for late start times and, ~ahem~ pot-rowdie fans, (I'm old folks) but I wish I could've made this show.

ClassicRockBob
ClassicRockBob

@slugger52Thanks, slugger. I am aware that Joe South was the songwriter (and he is a great one), but most people know the song via Deep Purple, and it was a cover of their version (though Billie Joe Royal did the original).

I liked how they made all the lights "deep purple" as well for this song. And now that Rush is finally in the Hall of Fame, I think the Purps are at the top of the list for "Why the fuck aren't they already in??"

crowesfanforlife
crowesfanforlife

@MadMac It ain't 'pot-rowdie'. It's more calming. You're looking for 'drunk-rowdie' - those guys are dangerous.

MadMac
MadMac topcommenter

No offense intended, I assure you. I've seen folk sending smoke signals get "rowdie" when security comes to boot them out the door. Agreed on the drunks, though.

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