The Black Crowes Broke Up, So Let’s Review Their Albums

I guess it was a long time coming. Then again, it seemed it would never actually officially happen, and instead there would be a hiatus every 2 years to make sure things really didn’t fall apart.

But it did and now The Black Crowes are officially no more (at least for now, though it doesn’t look too good for the future).

The Black Crowes Google Images

Don’t they look like they love each other?

Based on a statement made by Crowes guitarist and founding member, Rich Robinson, it seems he and his brother, lead singer Chris Robinson, have finally gotten to the point where they can actually no longer with each other. The brothers Robinson were notorious for their contentious relationship throughout the history of the band (think The Kinks’ Davies brothers or Oasis’s Gallagher brothers). Yet, every time things would come to a head, the brothers would reconcile and the band moved on.

Of course the band had a ton of personnel changes throughout it’s almost 25 year career (28 if you count the Mr. Crowe’s Garden years), with the only constants being the Robinson brothers and drummer Steve Gorman (who actually was officially not in the band for their first few 2005 reunion concerts). It was their band, and they had creative control. So when Chris Robinson allegedly demanded full control over the group, it’s understandable that Rich would shut the whole thing down.

The timing of the whole thing is seemingly odd, since the group had no plans of recording new material and the three main group members all have (semi-) successful solo/side projects that are currently going. And even though, according to Gorman, the group was contemplating a 25th anniversary tour in 2015, nothing was set in stone. So why now? What is the reasoning? I honestly have no idea and I’m not going to speculate in this blog.

Instead, I’m going to rank and discuss the studio records by The Black Crowes. I mean, if there’s ever a time to do it, now it’s a great time.


10. Croweology (2010)
This album is a double-disc of mostly previously released material done acoustically (which blackcrowes_croweologyis why it is ranked at the bottom of the list), and sounding like they recorded it live in the studio. The track list is filled with some of the Crowes’ best songs, and the songs are done with live arrangements in mind (several songs have jams and extended solo sections). The only two tracks that were not already recorded by the group are “Cold Boy Smile” (a song that was penned and played live during the 2005-2006 reunion run) and Gram Parsons’ “She.” While it is a definitely a cool concept (think MTV Unplugged), and is an overall great sounding album, it still is a bunch of re-recorded songs, even if they arranged differently. Yet, if you love the Crowes, and haven’t heard this one, you should.

9. Before the Frost…Until the Freeze (2009)
The last studio album of new material put out by the group, this is another double album black-crowes-before-the-frost-until-freeze-300x300 that really shows the style of music the group was going for in their last iteration (well their last major iteration, which included Luther Dickinson of North Mississippi Allstars), which is to say, 1970s Americana rock (I don’t even know if that’s a genre). Recorded live in front of an audience at Levon Helm’s barn studio in Woodstock, NY, this double album is really two albums (and was initially sold as such, kind of). The first half, Before the Frost, is filled with some great until-the-freezesongs that rock (“Good Morning Captain”, “Been A Long Time”, “Kept My Soul”), and some pretty ballads (“Appaloosa”, “Last Place That Love Lies”), with a few solid inbetweeners. The second half, Until the Freeze, is much more laid back, filled with acoustic songs. It definitely comes across as an attempt to create an album in the vein of Gram Parsons, whether it is The Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers, or his solo work. And while, this second half is not terrible by any means, it is also nothing amazing. It doesn’t sound like a Black Crowes record, while the first half does, though not totally either. So unless you’re a fan of 70s folk-rock/Americana music, or a huge Crowes fan, I would think you could skip this one. I have a tendency to do so.

8. Lions (2001)
This album was one of the first I ever wrote a review for (in my high school’s newspaper) 4185T5T93HL._SL500_AA300_and I remember loving it. I talked about how it had a very Led Zeppelin feel to it (which still makes sense since the group had just came off of a tour with Jimmy Page), and lauded how much it rocked. Would present-day me agree with these sentiments? Probably not so much about the Led Zeppelin statement, since there is more funk and soul than any Led Zeppelin album, but there is no question that this is a heavy, rocking album. Of all the albums the group recorded before their first hiatus in 2002, this was definitely the weakest, but it is by no means a weak album. It is just that the lows (“Miracle to Me”, “No Use Lying”, “Losing My Mind”) are pretty low, in terms of the Crowes. The highlights however (“Soul Singing”, “Cypress Tree”, “Midnight From The Inside Out”, “Greasy Grass River”, “Come On“), are pretty fantastic. I still feel that “Soul Singing” is a top 10, maybe top 5, Crowes song. This one is definitely worth a listen, even if you skip around a bit.

7. Warpaint (2008)
This is the first album of the post-hiatus Crowes, and the group had just gone through a P02023-300x300massive turnover in personnel. Okay, not massive since the group replaced two members, but for Crowes fans it was pretty massive. The biggest change was that Luther Dickinson of North Mississippi Allstars had joined the group, and though the guy is a guitar wizard, his style is just a little earthier than the previous Crowes guitarists (mainly Marc Ford). Interestingly, his style fit perfectly with where the band was heading (the aforementioned 70s Americana). This album sounds nothing like any of the Crowes albums that came before, but it’s a pretty great album. It is solid and consistent, in both style and quality of songs. There really isn’t a bad song on the album, and the first four songs on the album (“Goodbye Daughters of the Revolution”, “Walk Believer Walk”, “Oh Josephine”, and “Evergreen”) are some of my favorite Crowes songs. This is an album that I highly recommend checking out.

6. Three Snakes and One Charm (1996)
Okay, now we’re getting into the meat of the Crowes’ catalog. Three Snakes was the The_Black_Crowes_-_Three_Snakes_and_One_Charmsecond Crowes album I ever owned (having only gotten into the band the previous year, I only owned Shake Your Money Maker) and it took me about 10 years to really appreciate this album. I attest this to the fact that I needed to really mature to understand how many of these songs are just absolutely stunning and/or beautiful. Case in point: “Girl From A Pawnshop”. 13 year old me was not too into this song because it had slow parts and had a twang in it (I cannot truthfully say this is absolute fact, but let’s go with it), while 23 year old me realized how absolutely beautiful this song is, with it’s musical and emotional dynamics. And the build up with the refrain of “P.S. –All my love” at the end…holy crap, is that powerful or what?!? As I stated, this album is definitely one that you need to listen to several times before appreciating, because there are a lot of layers to it. It’s definitely the most psychedelic of all of the Crowes albums (though not even that psychedelic), and definitely the most complex sonically. This is another album that has no weak songs on it, though there are very few super strong songs beyond the aforementioned “ Girl From A Pawnshop,” “Under a Mountain,” “(Only) Halfway to Everywhere,” and “Evil Eye”. It’s really just a solid, consistent sounding album that blends a bunch of different styles and genres under the auspices of a rock album. It’s great.

5. By Your Side (1999)
The slickest of any of the Crowes’ albums, By Your Side seems to have one purpose, and 41STQ31TK0Lthat is to kick ass and take names. Yet, there is a lot of historical baggage that comes with this album. This was the first album after the departure of bassist Johnny Colt (replaced by Sven Pipien), and more importantly, long-time lead guitarist Marc Ford (who was replaced by Audley Freed after the album was released). On top of this, the Crowes had already made a record (which I will discuss soon) a year earlier, but was scrapped by Columbia Records, who wanted something more commercial. So for hardcore fans, this album is a bit tainted. With that being said, there is no denying the fact that this album has some straight up rockers that can blow the walls down. The one-two punch of “Go Faster” and “Kickin’ My Heart Around” to open the record is a statement telling the world that, yes, this band can still rock, and rock hard. The next four songs do not let up, even when the band slows it down a bit. I mean, these songs aren’t examples of songwriting genius, but they are great blues-based rock songs. Think a mix of the Faces and Humble Pie, if they were recording in 1999. The album’s closer, “Virtue and Vice”, is one of my favorite Crowes songs, because not only does it rock, but it has depth, thanks in part to Eddie Harsch’s piano playing, particularly on the outro. In reality, this is a great album, and one that could easily get people who love to listen to some straight ahead, kick-ass rock n’ roll to become fans of The Black Crowes.

4. The Lost Crowes (2006)
Okay so this double album is technically not a studio album by the Crowes. It is, in reality, 35386170a compilation of unreleased (yet highly bootlegged) material that had been played live for many years. The first disc contains recordings from the 1993 sessions for the scrapped album Tall. A lot of the material from these sessions would be rerecorded to make up the bulk of Amorica. The second disc contains what would have been the album 1997 album Band, but was scrapped leading to the creation of By Your Side. So why is this on this list, and why so high? Simply put, the songs are fantastic. The Tall sessions represent the band’s most prolific (and some feel the best) songwriting period of the band’s career. The bootleg of these sessions, entitled Taller Than All, has a total of 29 tracks, with only a few redundancies. That’s a lot of songs. So while some fans were upset that all of the tracks weren’t remastered and released, almost all were ecstatic that Tall finally got its due. I mean, it’s still mind boggling that songs like “Tied Up & Swallowed”, “Feathers”, and “Thunderstorm 6:54” never got put on any album, or that a song like “Title Song” didn’t even make this compilation (though it did get released on the 2002 Live album). Yet, even as good as the Tall disc is, the Band disc is even better. In my opinion, if Band were released, it would potentially be considered the group’s second-best album. This album (and yes I will refer to it as an album) showcases a band that has found its sound and is locked in. Compared to its would-be predecessor, Three Snakes and One Charm, this album is more stripped down, and possesses songs that hint at what the group would end up being in its post-hiatus days. That is, there is more of a folk-rock in this album than anything that had put out up to that point. So it’s easy to see why Columbia Records would want to scrap this album: it didn’t sound like “vintage” Crowes. But there are some amazing songs on this album, with rockers like “Paint an 8”, “Another Roadside Tragedy”, and “Never Forget This Song”, ballads like “Wyoming and Me” and “My Heart’s Killing Me”, and the wonderful closing track “Peace Anyway”. A few tracks from the sessions did get reworked for By Your Side; If It Ever Stops Raining” (which became “By Your Side”) and “Only A Fool” (which can be found on the bootlegged version of this album). Still, one can wonder what would have happened to the band if they were allowed to continue the course they were on, instead of being forced to make a creative U-turn. So in conclusion, this double-album compilation is one that every fan of The Black Crowes should own, no matter how hardcore you are.

3. Shake Your Money Maker (1990)
In the late 1980s, hair metal was taking up the airwaves of rock radio, and MTV for that matter. 4107KZ2jW1L._SY300_There were, of course, bands like R.E.M. and Red Hot Chili Peppers who were still getting played on radio, but for the most part rock music was being saturated with hair metal bands, mainly from L.A. So when the Crowes released their debut, Shake Your Money Maker, I can only imagine that for rock purists seemed like a breath of fresh air. But it is not the only reason that this album spawned 5 singles (2 which went to #1 on the modern rock charts) and sold over 5 million copies. The fact of the matter is that this album is fantastic. It’s raw, it rocks, it has soul, and it has great songs. Let’s list some: “Twice As Hard”, “Jealous Again”, “Sister Luck”, “Seeing Things”, “Thick N’ Thin”, “She Talks To Angels”. Oh and let’s not forget the song that really made The Black Crowes a well known band, their cover of Otis Redding’s “Hard to Handle”. Now one may think, “Their biggest song was a cover? Come on now!” But let’s be real. What mainstream rock band in the late 1980s was covering Otis Redding? I bet half of the hair metal bands had no idea who Otis Redding even was! (I might lose that bet, but whatever.) The fact of the matter is that they took a great song, made it their own, and killed it (in a good way). I mean this is on top of the songs I previously listed, all written by the Robinson brothers, who were in their late teens/early 20s when they wrote them. They understood what good music was, and were able to make their own great songs using that knowledge. And these songs still hold up, even if the production is very late 80s/early 90s. Throw on “Jealous Again” and try not to rock out. Listen to “She Talks to Angels” and try to not feel any emotions. This is a great album, and if you haven’t listened to it, stop what you’re doing and go listen. Seriously. Go do it now (and then come back and finish reading this entry.)

2. Amorica (1994)


Oh, and of course who could forget this controversial cover?

So you may be thinking how Shake Your Money Maker was only #3 on this list with all of the praise I just gave it. Well as great as that album is, the two albums that followed are better. One of them is Amorica, the album that came out of the failed, yet prolific sessions for the never released album Tall. As I mentioned earlier, the Crowes were writing and recording songs in 1993 for the album that was to be called Tall. Yet while the band was writing a lot of songs, the group was going through some huge turmoil, mainly between the Robinson brothers. At this point Chris was heavily involved in drugs (as were some of the other band members), while Rich continued to be clean. The two were already fighting a lot, but during the recording sessions, the two brothers would work at different hours, erasing the each other’s work from the previous session. It’s a wonder that anything got recorded. Thankfully, the two brothers worked things out, and though Tall was scrapped, the group still had a plethora of great songs to work with, enabling to them to create Amorica. Now, let me be straight with you: Every single song on this album is good, if not great. This is the album where the group decided to branch out from just playing rock music, and started to dabble in some of the styles and genres that influenced the group. “She Gave Good Sunflower” sounds like a Faces song, while there is some country flare with “Wiser Time” and “Downtown Money Waster”, some Latin influences in “High Head Blues” and the intro of “Gone”. There is also a ballad that doesn’t include any heavy guitar work, “Nonfiction”. But if you want heavy guitar work, don’t worry because there is a ton. The first two tracks, “Gone” and “A Conspiracy” have plenty of that, with the latter being one of the heaviest of the Crowes songs ever, as is “P. 25 London”. Then there are songs like “Cursed Diamond” and “Ballad In Urgency” that showcase the band’s ability to write songs that have musical and emotional dynamics. But in my mind, the piece de resistance of the album is its finale, “Descending”. This is by far the most beautiful song the group ever wrote. The guitar playing is gorgeous and Chris Robinson’s voice is elegant and emotional. Yet it is Eddie Harsch’s piano playing that makes this song. The outro always gives me chills. It’s a perfect way to end a fantastic album.

1. The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion (1992)
To those of you who are fans of The Black Crowes, this should be no surprise. For those of you who have never heard this album, let me explain. The Black Crowes were known for being a true rock n’ roll group. I’m talking blues-based, riff-heavy, distorted guitar, soulful 61Qk904xTgL._SY300_rock music. This album is the prime example of that. This album does not stopping rocking (until the last song). There are 10 tracks on this record, the first 9 of which are some of the most rocking songs I’ve ever heard. That’s 47 minutes straight of non-stop guitar-led rock n’ roll. And when I mean rock n’ roll, I mean ROCK N’ ROLL. These songs aren’t just headbangers, these are songs that make you want to move. Yes there are some moments where the band brings the mood down a bit, but there is always a nasty guitar solo to get the energy back up. The only moment where this album let’s up is on the last song, a Bob Marley cover called “Time Will Tell”, but it doesn’t take away from this album in the slightest. The way this album is constructed, it comes off like a concert (and I highly doubt that any Crowes fan would be upset with a show with these songs, in this order). There are emotional highs and lows, but every song is perfectly placed. “Sting Me” opens with Rich Robinson playing a riff by himself, before Steve Gorman’s drums, Johnny Colt’s bass, and Eddie Harsch’s piano all join him in a heavy down beat pattern, leading to the main riff of the song as the band really gets rockin’. I mean, how is that not a great opening to a show? This is followed by the hit single, “Remedy”, which may be the best Crowes song ever. This song is rock n’ roll. And the breakdown with the background singers is so, so killer. Ugh. Love this song. “Thorn in My Pride” follows, and it is one powerful song. It’s a wonderfully crafted song with peaks and valleys, and a killer guitar solo by Marc Ford. And as good as the breakdown in “Remedy” was, this one is even better. Led by the gospel-inspired piano playing of Harsch, Chris Robinson sings “Lover, cover me; Let your love light shine, let it shine,” over and over, as the group builds to an emotional climax, before going into the denouement. The group slows it down with the next two tracks “Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye” and “Sometimes Salvation”, but the energy and emotions are still riding high, thanks to Chris Robinson’s voice and the guitars of Rich Robinson and Marc Ford. The band then delves into their Southern rock roots with “Hotel Illness” and “Black Moon Creeping”, the latter of which has another amazing solo from Ford. “No Speak, No Slave” is next, and it is the heaviest song on the album. There’s the Zeppelin-esque opening riff, the harmonizing guitar riffs (and they are sick), the wah-wah fused guitar solo, and the frenzied, high-energy ending which features Chris Robinson yelling out “Ows” and “Oohs” along with the hits. Then comes the “set closer,” “My Morning Song.” This song has the emotional diversity (and gospel-esque breakdown) of “Thorn in My Pride” but with the energy and guitar sounds of the preceding track, “No Speak, No Slave”. I really can’t put into words how fun this song is to listen. It’s an experience, and a freakin’ great song. The album closes with “Time Will Tell”, which would be an interesting yet fun encored song to close the show. Sounding like a commune singing and jamming over a campfire, the song is a drastic contrast to the rest of the album, but after the high-energy of the first 9 songs, it’s almost cathartic to hear. This is an album every rock music lover should own. I’m being totally serious. You will enjoy it (unless you do not like rock music).

So there you have it: A complete ranking and breakdown of all of The Black Crowes studio albums (+1) by a big fan of the group (they are one of my 5 favorites of all time). Of course, the group did have several live albums [Live (2002), Freak n’ Roll…Into the Fog (2006) (also a DVD), Warpaint Live (2009), and Wiser for the Time (2013)], along with the live double-album with Jimmy Page (Live at the Greek) and the Robinson Brothers’ acoustic live album (Brothers of a Feather – Live at the Roxy), but I really don’t have the energy or the desire to go through those, especially since I have a review of one of their live shows from 2013. This (uber-long) blog entry was just a way to show my love and appreciation for a band that has given the world (and myself) some great rock n’ roll music. If you haven’t listened to them yet, I would seriously recommend that you do (unless rock music is not your bag).

Thanks for the music TBC. My life would not be the same without it.



White Denim – Corsicana Lemonade

It’s been a while since I last wrote anything, and I have been meaning to, but other things in life have gotten in the way.  Thankfully, I have a free moment to write, and it couldn’t have happened at a better time. That’s because I have not been able to stop listening to White Denim’s new album, Corsicana Lemonade.

I first wrote about (and listened to) the Austin-based quartet over a year and a half ago, reviewing their 2011 release, D, a record which I still enjoy. The album is full of music that crosses genres and brings the listener back to different eras in time. It really is a fantastic album, and compared to their earlier work, it is much more accessible to all listeners. Where their early work was a mix of garage rock, psychedelia, sonic experimentation, and raw energy, Corsicana Lemonade finds the band taking another step toward general accessibility without giving up the characteristics that make them an incredibly special and amazing band. That is, the band still has technically and sonically intricate music backed by a steady groove, they’ve just tightened everything up.

A perfect example of this is the album’s opener, “At Night in Dreams.” The song opens with WHITE-DENIM-CORSICANA-LEMONADEan intense and blistering dual guitar lick from James Petralli (vocals/guitar) and Austin Jenkins (guitar) backed by a deep, yet subtly funky groove set by drummer Josh Bock and bassist Steve Terebecki. This feel continues throughout the song until the bridge, where the band decides to break into a jazzy shuffle, before coming back to the main groove for one last chorus and then launching into a ripping, metal-esque outro. While this would all seem out of place for most bands, it fits perfectly into the mold that White Denim has created for itself.

This trend of blending styles and genres was something that was heard on D, but on Corsicana Lemonade the band seems to have focused on writing songs that sound more structured and, dare I say, have the possibility of being on the radio. The two best examples of this being “Pretty Green,” the first single, and “Come Back.”

“Pretty Green” is, for all intents and purposes, a radio-friendly song, which is likely the reason it was the first single. The groove, right from the get-go, is a staccato quarter-note pattern, which creates an incredibly bouncy (pop) feel. There are also the two melodic hooks that appear throughout the song. The first appears at the end of each verse, with Petralli singing, “I was looking up, looking out,” and the second is the chorus itself. Add in the fact that the song is not sonically overbearing, with each riff and groove having space to breathe, and you get a song that was meant to be heard, and enjoyed, by the masses. Now it may seem like I am upset with this, but the opposite is true. I really like this song, and have since the first time I heard it. A good song is a good song, no matter what the intent was behind it, and this is a good song. The band is in the pocket throughout, beefed up by Terebecki’s muddy, sci-fi-ish bass sound, with each sonic flourish perfectly placed, adding color to the track.

While “Pretty Green” seems to have be written for the radio, “Come Back” could be an unexpected hit (if these guys got some more national exposure). There’s a lot more going on in this song, but in an almost Led Zeppelin-esque fashion, all of the intricate riffs and changes in rhythmic feel all come together under the underlying groove that digs down deep into the listener’s soul making it impossible for them not to want to move around. Petralli’s vocal lines are the most straightforward of the rhythmic patterns, which creates an incredibly syncopated feel, with the music and vocal lines playing with each other in a way that is almost hypnotic. A great example of this is the chorus, where Petralli’s quick paced, repetitious vocals weave with Jenkins’ sixteenth-note guitar runs and the changes in feel of the backbeat provided by Bock. In true White Denim fashion, the song takes a few turns during the bridge, which starts with a harsh Steely Dan feel, before turning into a late-70s Zeppelin homage. Even though the song is pretty intricate, it’s packaged really well and the underlying beat is consistent and easy to grasp. It’s also just plain fun to listen to, which makes me think this song could be something big for the band if it hits the masses the right way.

Similar to when I listen to D, it’s hard for me to not hear other bands in the songs on this album. The title track, “Corsicana Lemonade,” has elements of King Crimson mixed with ZZ Top, while “Limited by Stature” is a bit of Yes combined with something off of Brothers or El Camino by The Black Keys, which is probably aided by the fact that Petralli sounds a bit like Dan Auerbach. And then there’s “Cheer Up / Blues Ending” which sounds like a Stephen Stills song played by Humble Pie, before dissolving into an avant-garde outro.

Still, Corsicana Lemonade is pure White Denim, filled with musical chaos and abrupt twists and turns. They have just matured, reigning in and honing the chaos and intricacies of their music. Some fans may see this as the band “selling out,” but I see it as the band maturing and figuring out a way to get their music out to more people without changing who they are. The technical gifts of all four members are on full display throughout the album, and the intensity that the band is known for is still there, it’s just that they’ve learned how to focus it all and package it a little tighter.

But let’s be honest, none of this matters if the songs are not good, and thankfully they all are. This album is great, and even if it may not be the sonic masterpiece that D is, it shows that the band has definitely grown and seems to have found their sound. I’m just hoping they don’t stop here.

Concert Review: Beck @ Prospect Park Bandshell, Brooklyn, NY – August 4, 2013

I think one of the greatest feelings after seeing a concert is when you leave knowing that whatever expectations you had were exceeded. I usually go into a show with a certain level of excitement and some assumption of what I’m going to see, whether it is based on previous experiences or from what I’ve heard or read. I’ve been lucky enough that most shows that I’ve been to have at least met my expectations, but I’m always exhilarated when I leave knowing that I a better experienced than I ever imagined. This is how I felt after I left Beck‘s recent concert in Brooklyn.

Now I had seen Beck before, but my previous experience left me wanting more. Let me explain. It was 1998, and Beck was touring with Ben Folds Five as one of his openers, along with Elliott Smith. Being the big Ben Folds Five fan that you know I am, I wanted to go see them. My younger brother, Sam, was (and still is) a big Beck fan, so it was an easyBeck-Third-Man-Records decision for my dad to get tickets to the show. At the time, I wasn’t really into Beck, but I liked most of his stuff, especially off of Odelay, and knew of his reputation for putting on a great show, so it just added to my overall excitement for the show. The concert was at Jones Beach Ampitheater which is about 2 hours away from where I grew up, and it was on a school night. Adding to this was the fact that I had a biology practical the following day, of which I did almost no studying for. So when Beck started around an hour and a half after Ben Folds Five finished (did I mention it was drizzling the whole night?), I knew we would not be staying for the whole show. We left about 45 minutes into Beck’s set. However, what we saw was fantastic, and just made me hope that I would be able to see Beck in concert again. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t get the chance, though my brother did during The Information tour, which he said was one of the best shows he’s ever seen (I mean they had marionettes and set pieces). So when I saw that Beck was going to be playing a show in Brooklyn with a full electric band (something he has not been doing much of lately), I jumped at the opportunity.

Going into the evening, I tried to temper my expectations, due to the fact that there were a lot of unknown variables. Neither my brother (who came with me) nor I had been to the venue before, so we had no idea what the setup would be or what the sound would be like. We also had no idea who would be playing in his band, and were wondering what songs he was going to play. We got to the venue a little bit after 6pm, and were able to find a spot just in front of the seated area (for VIPs only) directly in front of the sound board, which was dead center of the stage. The concrete GA area is on a slope which made it easy for us to see the stage, even with people in front of us. Around 7pm, the opening act, Adam Green and Binki Shapiro, came on and put on a nice set, full of alt-country/folk and fun stage antics.

As we waited for Beck to come on, my brother and I mused about who would be playing with him. Sam knew that Beck’s longtime bassist and musical director, Justin Meldal-Johnsen, was not going to be at the show, which was a disappointment to both of us. From one of my conversations with Bleu during our recording session, I knew that Roger Joseph Manning, Jr. was going to be playing keyboards. I hoped that Joey Waronker was going to be playing drums, and based on the funky left-handed set, it seemed he would be playing (which he did). The question now was, who would be playing guitar and bass? A little after 8pm the band came out. I was surprised and excited to see that the first person out on stage and heading to play bass was Jason Falkner (I’m a big fan of his solo material). As expected, Waronker and Manning both came out on stage, and the mystery man of the evening turned out to be guitarist Smokey Hormel. Then the band started playing and the last lingering question of the evening was answered.

As Beck and his band opened in blistering fashion with “Devil’s Haircut,” “Black Tambourine,” and “Soul of a Man,” I knew we were going to be in for one helluva night. I turned my brother and told him that we had IMG_0342already gotten our admission’s worth for the night. While it was partly due to the fact that he played those songs, it was also attributed to Beck’s energy and his band’s cohesiveness musically. Sure his band was made of veteran musicians, and yes they had already played a few shows in previous days, but the fact that they sounded like a band that had been playing together for years is what got me. (Beck later stated that this was the band that played on the Sea Change tour and was his “dream band.”)

After going solo on “One Foot in the Grave,” his band came back out and continued to tear things up, running through an incredible mix of songs that essentially covered Beck’s career. The crowd went crazy when they started playing Soft Cell‘s version of “Tainted Love,” which after a verse went into “Modern Guilt” (though Beck messed up and called a redo during the transition). “Think I’m in Love” was given a cover add-on as well, having Donna Summer‘s “I Feel Love” tacked on as an outro. After the upbeat and dancy “Gamma Ray,” Beck began playing the memorable slide guitar opening to “Loser,” as the crowd erupted with ecstasy. Almost everyone was dancing and singing along, and the concert truly became a musical party. After another trio of danceable songs (“Hotwax,” “Que Ondo Guero,” and “Girl“), Beck and the band went into a few ethereal tunes, that were absolutely gorgeous sounding. While “Soldier Jane” sounded like it came right off of the record, “Chemtrails” was simply epic, thanks in part to Joey Waronker’s pounding, yet tasteful drumming.

Beck then shed his electric guitar for an acoustic and told the crowd that he was going to be playing a few songs off of Sea Change. After settling down after an ecstatic applause, the crowd was treated to fantastic versions of “The Golden Age” and “Lost Cause.” Admittedly, I have never really given Sea Change much of a proper listen, but in the middle of “Lost Cause” I turned to my brother and told him that I needed to listen to the album more.

After performing his cover of The Korgis‘ “Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime,” which he recorded for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Beck took out a copy of his most recent “album,” Song Reader, which is actually a book of sheet music. Beck explained how in the past he had looked at the transcriptions of his songs into music books and had felt sorry for whoever had to transcribe his distorted, backward, compressed vocal screams into piano notes. So, he decided to write and arrange simple songs that could be easily put into sheet music, and do it the old-fashioned way, allowing people to interpret the song however they wanted. He then performed two songs from the songbook, “Just Noise” and “Heaven’s Ladder.” Just to clarify, there is no official recordings of these songs, so for me, it was the first time I had ever heard these songs. And yes, they were good.

After running through “Fourteen Rivers Fourteen Floods,” Beck ended the set with a barnstorming version of “Sissyneck.” During the breakdown in the song, Waronker slightly IMG_0346changed his beat, and Beck went around his band asking if they knew what it was. The crowd seemed to know, but Hormel and Manning feigned ignorance, before Falkner said he knew what it was, and broke into the infamous bassline of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean.” Beck asked, “Can we do this?” and the crowd answered with a massive cheer, as Beck started to imitate the King of Pop’s dance moves, before jumping into the first verse. Falkner took the lead on the bridge, showing his own vocal prowess, before everyone sang the chorus together. The band then kicked it back into “Sissyneck” to end the set, leaving the stage to a massive applause.

A few minutes later, the group came out, and Beck said they were going to “play something loud.” The band then launched into the heavy “E-Pro” which kept the high energy going and the crowd rocking. The night ended with an extended version of “Where It’s At,” in which Beck did an (assumingly) improv monologue. The band responded appropriately to his actions, adding in little riffs and fills. After telling the crowd he wanted to take things “higher,” Beck counted the band back in and totally brought the house down. Beck played off the crowd’s energy, having them do call and responses, and then having both Hormel and Falkner do a coordinated slide, bringing back memories of that show in 1998, before ending the song and the show.

This show was one of the best that I’ve been to in the last few years, and possibly ever. Everything seemed to be perfect. The weather, crowd, and sound were all great, as was Beck and his band. But more than just sounding great on stage, Beck and his band seemed to genuinely be having a damned good time. Not only were they fooling around and getting into the music, the band seemed to have a looseness and synergy to it, even though they had only really been playing for less than a week together. I really can’t say much more than it was just simply a fantastic show and it greatly exceeded my expectations (though I would’ve loved to have heard a tune from Midnight Vultures, but whatever).

I just hope it won’t be another 15 years before I see Beck again.

Devil’s Haircut – Odelay
Black Tambourine – Guero
Soul of a Man – Modern Guilt
One Foot in the Grave – Stereopathic Soulmanure
Modern Guilt (w/Tainted Love intro) – Modern Guilt
Think I’m in Love (w/I Feel Love outro) – The Information
Gamma Ray – Modern Guilt
Loser – Mellow Gold
Hotwax – Odelay
Que Ondo Guero – Guero
Girl – Guero
Soldier Jane – The Information
Chemtrails – Modern Guilt
The Golden Age – Sea Change
Lost Cause – Sea Change
Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (soundtrack)
Just Noise – Song Reader
Heaven’s Ladder – Song Reader
Fourteen Rivers Fourteen Floods – One Foot in the Grave
Sissyneck (w/Billie Jean interlude) – Odelay
E-Pro – Guero
Where It’s At – Odelay

Podcast: Toad the Wet Sprocket – New Constellation

So I’m trying something new this week. Instead of having a written review of Toad the Wet Sprocket’s new album, New Constellation (which has yet to be officially released), my friend Chris and I decided to try a podcast instead. If I get enough positive responses from this I may do it more in the future, but I need your feedback!

New ConstellationAnyway, here’s a little background on the album. This is the first album of all new material from TTWS since 1997. Having already recorded the album with their own money, they started a Kickstarter campaign to fund promotion and distribution of the album (since they are doing this without a label). Having donated some money to the campaign, both Chris and I received advanced digital copies of the album a few weeks ago, which is how we were able to review it before it has officially come out.

In the podcast we talk about the album and a lot of other things regarding TTWS, especially about what has been going on with the band since they broke up in 1998. I’ll be honest and say that what you hear is what we said, meaning not much editing went into the final product, and we did it with one mic (if this becomes a thing I will invest in better audio). Also, it’s quite long. About 45 minutes…all about Toad. You’ve been warned.

I hope you enjoy what you hear, and please leave some feedback about whether you’d like this to be a thing in the future.


-J. Frisch


My Experience Recording with Bleu

As a kid, I would dream about playing on the same stage with some of my idols or favorite bands, thus turning me into a rock star overnight. Even in college, I would think about how awesome it would be to open for a big time band (something I did get to do) and how it would change my life. As time went on, my dreams were overtaken by reality. Whether it was finally letting go of the fact that I was never going to be a professional musician, or the fact that knowing or working with a famous musician was not going to make me famous by proxy, I finally came to grips that my life was not really going to change. Still, the opportunity to work with musicians I admire and love is something that I typically jump at, even if it costs a bit of money. When I found out that my favorite drummer, Billy Martin, gave lessons 30 minutes from my hometown, I took a few, even if it was slightly out of my price range. So when the chance to record with Bleu, one of my favorite musicians, was available, I took it, even if the price seemed a bit high at the time. Though in the end, it was money well spent.

But let’s start at the beginning.

On November 14, 2012, Bleu (who I have previously written about) had decided to start a PledgeMusic campaign to fund his new album, To Hell With You. Like Kickstarter, PledgeMusic allows musicians to set up pledge amounts and have corresponding gifts or prizes for those amounts. As I was going through the different levels, one “gift” got my attention. For $350 I could play on one of the songs for his next project called Redhead Record Club (this is a reimagining of his most well known album, Redhead, which came out in 2003). After looking at the other options again, I realized that this was the best one that I could afford (I did not have $6,500 lying around to get an EP recorded), so I went for it. I wasn’t sure exactly how it was going to work or in what capacity I would play, but I figured it would be a great experience regardless.

Soon after I pledged, I saw Bleu perform at Rockwood Music Hall in New York City. After the show, I told him that I just pledged, and wanted to make sure that I wasn’t just going to be “playing the triangle” on a track. He assured me that I would, in fact, be actually playing on the song and not just “playing the triangle.” About a month later I received an email from his manager asking what instrument I play, for how long, what songs I would want to play on, if I had any experience recording at home, and what I wanted to get out of the experience. I wrote back on Christmas Day.

As I waited for a response, two tracks, each with a pledger (both drummers), came out. I was getting a little worried, but I had to remind myself that both of these people recorded themselves at home, something I was not able to do very easily, or very well.

Then, a few weeks ago, I received an email from Bleu saying that he would be coming out to Boston to do some recording and wanted to know if I’d be able to come up and work on one of the songs. I was given a choice of “Sayonara” or “Ursala Major, Ursala Minor,” and I chose the former. (Both of these songs were only found on the original release of the album, through Aware Records, and not the version that Columbia Records released.) We sent a few emails back and forth hammering out logistics, with him also telling me how the song was going to be different than the original version. On July 17th, I drove up to the studio in Medford, MA, arriving around 2:30pm (and with a newly cracked windshield). Based on the emails, I was anticipating being done by 5 or 5:30. I assumed wrong.

When I got to the house, I was greeted by Bleu and the house’s owner, Grammy winning engineer Ducky Carlisle. I walked inside and immediately to my right was where the drums were set up. (The dining room, which was on my left, was filled with stacks of snare drums.) The setup was a ‘60s Ludwig set, with an old (not sure the year) 6.5 or 7” x 14” Ludwig snare drum, called “The Henley” (because it sounded like Don Henley’s snare), and decked out with a mix of Zildjian and Sabian cymbals. We talked about the gear I brought with me and they said that I could use a few of my cymbals (my 18” Zildjian A Custom crash and my 14” Zildjain A hi-hats – New Beat top, Mastersound bottom). However, they liked the sound of the snare they had set up and wanted me to use it. I told them that whatever they wanted was fine and I was willing to play on anything. After a quick sound check, Bleu changed his mind, and we ended up using my snare, a 5.5” x 14” Ludwig SupraPhonic (which, as Ducky told Bleu, is the most recorded snare drum in music history).

Before we started recording, they brought me downstairs to the control center of Ice Station Zebra (the official name of the studio). I was greeted by a huge rack of amplifiers, two opened-up electric pianos, a massive amount of vinyl records, and a computer with Ducky’s Grammy award sitting on one of the computer’s speakers. The hallway outside of the room was lined with guitar amplifiers. There was gear everywhere, even in the vocal booth, where “the” bass amp was located, as well as a guitar amplifier that was built into a case of an old television. It was pretty awesome.

We eventually got down to business. I heard the track and Bleu told me what he wanted in each section, and that we would be recording it section by section. Needless to say I was a bit nervous, wanting to make sure that I wasn’t going to play horribly, and didn’t want Bleu to get frustrated with me (I’m sure I was making all of this up, but it’s what went through my mind). This made me a bit tight and it took me a few minutes to warm up and get looser (plus a few beers didn’t hurt). Over the course of the next hour and a half I laid down the drum tracks, getting pointers and notes from Bleu as we recorded. As expected, there were times I rushed, especially during drum fills, and learned that my bass drum was consistently just a little ahead of the downbeat. Thankfully, I gave him enough to work with as he went about editing and quantizing the tracks.

I came back downstairs into the air-conditioned control room (I failed to mention that it was hot as balls upstairs) and relaxed as Bleu continued to work. Over the course of the next few hours, I hung out talking about random things with he and Ducky. At one point the two of them started talking about how good the sound quality of vinyl today really is, with Bleu pointing out that unless you are specifically recording for it to go on vinyl, the sound quality is going to be the same, or possibly even worse than a CD. Ducky then went on to say that a lot of people like vinyl because there is a routine to listening to it making it an activity. There were, of course, times I slipped into fanboy mode and asked questions regarding Bleu’s past work and whether he would work with some people he has in the past. Yet, overall I think I held my own with both of them.

Things took a little longer than expected when ProTools decided it didn’t want to work with the new trackpad that had come in the mail that day, and then failed a few times. Things almost came to a halt for the day when the computer wouldn’t restart properly. Eventually things worked out and I got to hear a rough cut of what was done, and it sounded pretty great. I mean, I’m playing on top of loops, so it’s not like I’m playing anything amazing, but it still sounded awesome.

I was then surprised when I was invited to grab dinner with the two of them before I headed to my friends’ place. We ended up at a Chinese restaurant where we shared food and stories for about an hour or so. This was easily the best part of the whole day for two reasons. First, and most obviously, I had a meal with a musician I have been following pretty dedicatedly for the last 10 years and a Grammy winning engineer. Second, and more importantly, it just felt like three guys hanging out, and I started to view Bleu less as a musician I love to listen to and more like a guy I’d like to hang out with. The best moment of the meal was when we started to talk about the book Ender’s Game (via a discussion of how drones are being flown by young kids who see it as a video game). Turns out, Bleu is a huge fan of the book and was super excited about the upcoming movie. Moments like this allowed me to remove the fanboy glasses and overall made me more comfortable.

After we shared our fortune cookie messages (I got “When in doubt, mumble.”), I got a few pictures with both of them, since I failed to get any documentation of me actually playing (oops!), before I headed south to Quincy to see my friends.

I left feeling more than satisfied. Not only did I get to record a track for one of my favorite musicians, but I got a first-hand look at how he approaches his music and the production of his songs. I also gained a new appreciation for the work that studio engineers and producers do, learning how just a slight change in sound can make a huge difference to a track. I got more out of my experience than I ever expected, even without hearing the final product (which I hope to post on here when I get it in a few weeks, with permission of course).

In other words, it was $350 well spent.

Here are some photos from the day.

Movie Review – Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me Now

Bands or musical acts that are influential are usually those that are incredibly popular and/or have changed the musical landscape. They are celebrated and recognized by critics and the public alike, and though some people may not like their music, it is hard to deny the importance of their body of work. Yet there are those other bands and artists that have a cult following, and though the size of their impact may be smaller, the strength of it on those affected is similar to that of bigger-named artists. In some cases, truly dedicated fans of these artists have made documentaries to not only tell their story but to also expose their music to a wider population (e.g. Searching for Sugarman about Rodriguez). With the release of Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me, the story and music of the critically-acclaimed, “cult” band Big Star is trying to reach a wider audience than its records ever did, and deservedly so.

big_star_nothing_can_hurt_meI have written about Big Star before, specifically on their first album, #1 Record, and though I only found out about them 6 years ago, I can definitely say that I am a very big fan of their music. So when I heard of this documentary being made a few years ago, I got very excited. Ironically, the film, like the career of the band, had several obstacles to overcome before it was released, including the deaths of several people critical to the telling of the story and funding for the project. Thankfully, interviews had been done before those that died passed away, and the movie was funded by a Kickstarter campaign (which I took a part of), and the documentary has finally been released.

To say that Big Star’s story has been undocumented would be false. The fact of the matter is that the story has been told and well known by many fans for decades. The problem has always been getting the band’s story to the masses. Rock critics have hailed the group’s work since #1 Record was released in 1972, but due to lack of airplay and recognition (their song “In the Street” was the theme song for That ‘70s Show, though never their version) most people still have no idea that this band ever existed. While Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me Now is likely to stay as a limited-release feature, it is a massive step towards giving the band the recognition and accolades they deserve. The film does a fantastic job of telling the whole story of the band and showcases the amazing music that has been heard by few.

The main storyline for the band is that due to distribution problems of the band’s first two records their music never sold in stores, and thus was rarely played on the radio, even though they were both critically acclaimed. However, as the film shows, that is only the tip of the iceberg that is the story of Big Star. There is the story of Alex Chilton, the former teenage pop star who could never shake his past, no matter how far he tried to get away from it, before eventually embracing it before he unexpectedly passed away. Then there is the story of the Chris Bell, the tortured genius, who could never find the fame and recognition he wanted, or deserved, and ultimately joined the infamous “27 Club.” Sure, both stories sound cliché and very Hollywood-esque, but the fact that they are true stories makes them that more compelling.

Yet for me, the most important part of the film was how impactful and important the group’s music was on musicians around the world. I am certain that the first time I heard the band’s music I experienced something similar to that of members of R.E.M., The Replacements, Teenage Fanclub, The Posies (two of whom actually joined the second incarnation of Big Star), The dBs, and many other bands, which is just simply being blown away. As interesting and compelling as Chilton and Bell’s stories are, they are pointless without the music that the two men wrote. That is the real story of the band, and the film does a great job showcasing it. The stories behind how the songs were recorded and produced are interesting, and the film does a fantastic job of including the producers and engineers in the story telling, giving each piece of music a complete story. Hearing how John Fry found Chris Bell working in the studio overnight or how Jim Dickinson pushed Alex Chilton to embrace chaos makes it easier to understand why the songs came out they way they did. And the film goes beyond the band’s work, including Chilton and Bell’s solo and post-Big Star catalog in the soundtrack, telling the other side of the two musicians personal stories, making them that more captivating.

In the end, Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me is a must-see, especially for musicians and music-lovers, but is one that I think most people will enjoy. The story lines are there and so is the soundtrack. I’m not a film buff (nor a critic) but my friend who saw the film with me is (and is also a music lover) and loved the film. Many critics have enjoyed it as well, but hopefully unlike their albums, the public will embrace Big Star’s story. While the band, and three of its four original members, are not around any more, the music still lives on. And as I stated earlier, that is the whole point of the film: getting Big Star’s music out to the uninformed masses.

Now go see this film.

To find where the film will be playing, go to You can also rent the film on iTunes or watch it on demand online. However, as a friend of mine said, you probably want to watch it with “real theater sound.”

Concert Review: The Black Crowes @ Terminal 5, New York, NY – April 5, 2013

It’s amazing how for as long as this blog has been going I have yet to discuss or even mention The Black Crowes. I say this because they are one of my favorite bands, and have been since I was about 14. They are one of three bands/artists I have seen more than 10 times (Ben Folds and Medeski Martin & Wood being the other two) and have been one of the most important musical influences in my life. I could give a whole back story on my affinity for the Crowes, but I’ll refrain so we can get right down to last night’s show.

There is no doubt in my mind that The Black Crowes are one of the best live bands out there. Not only do they play as a cohesive unit, they also have an extensive catalog of songs, filled with a plethora of originals and an immense amount of covers. What this means is that no matter what night you go see them, you will be treated to a totally unique show and setlist. On top of all of this is the fact that when they headline, their shows run for a minimum of two hours. Essentially, you are going to get your money’s worth, that is if you are okay with the probability of not hearing most of their singles and listening to some extended solos and/or jams. Still, if you want to hear some great rock music played by a band that has been at it for over 20 years, then this is your band.

This was my twelfth Crowes show (if you include a Chris and Rich Robinson acoustic show) and I can easily say, while I’ve never seen a bad show from the band, this one was pretty great. Right from the start, the band was cooking, and visably having fun playing with each other (which if you know anything about the band, wasn’t always the case). With one minor exception, the setlist was incredibly solid. A great mix of originals and covers, the band actually played more “hits” than usual, and had only one song that would be even remotely considered a deep cut from their back catalog. Ironically that song, “Garden Gate,” was also the outlier of the night, but more on that later.

For the most part, the show was one where you saw a band get back to what it was primarily known for, which in this case meant a band playing some straight ahead rock and roll. More than half of the songs came from their first three albums, Shake Your Money Maker, The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion, and Amorica, which was fine by me since they are definitely three of their best (the latter two being, in my eyes, their two screen-shot-2013-02-28-at-10-38-55-ambest). This made the show feel like the band was just throwing musical haymakers all night, which not only delighted myself, but most of the crowd as well.

The band started off with a bevy of these early songs, including an interesting mini-medley of “My Morning Song” into “Stare It Cold” into a gospel breakdown before going back into “My Morning Song.” While this seems to be a new twist to some older songs, it was easily one of the best moments of the night having amazing energy throughout the entire medley. Interestingly another highlight of the show was another mini-medley of “Hard to Handle” into Deep Purple’s “Hush.” While the execution of “Hush” could use some tightening up (they’ve only performed the cover a few times), the band’s vocal harmonies were on full display, which is saying something.

Let me take a moment to step back and explain what I mean. Lead singer, Chris Robinson, has one of the most rock and roll voices of all time (my father once said he was the next Paul Rodgers), and his voice is one of the reasons the band was so successful and well known. However, most of the band’s previous lineups did not consist of guys who had great voices, for harmony or lead. This was compensated by the fact that the band toured with two female backup singers for most their career. However, it seems that the band has abandoned that concept for the time being. Thankfully, they now have guys who can sing well. Guitarist, Rich Robinson’s (Chris’s brother) voice has gotten better over the years, and is now at the point where he can sing lead and I can actually enjoy the song. Bassist Sven Pipien has an underrated voice, and easily the best man for harmonizing with Chris Robinson. Keyboardist Adam MacDougall added some depth to the harmonies, as did new guitarist Jackie Greene. It was definitely a pleasant surprise to see and hear the band do this, and I though I loved the backup singers, they weren’t missed at all.

I should also take the time to talk about the band’s playing last night. Overall, they were great, even with a couple of interesting moments (mainly due to Greene not knowing all of the songs as well as the other five members). Chris Robinson was, as expected, dominant. As I said earlier, he has one of those ultimate rock and roll voices, having the ability to sing with such passion and cockiness, while being perfectly in tune. He is also, in my mind, one of the best frontmen in rock, following in the footsteps of Rod Stewart, Mick Jagger, and Paul Rodgers. Guitarists Rich Robinson and Jackie Greene were ripping it up all night, though there was a lot less interplay between the two than there has been between Robinson and other former Crowes guitarists (I’m sure this will come in time as long as Greene stays on with the band, though he will never be Marc Ford).  Drummer Steve Gorman was his normal rock solid self, keeping the groove going the entire night. Keyboardist Adam MacDougall was fantastic, and though he is no Ed Harsch (the band’s original and longtime keyboardist), has definitely brought a different (more jazzy) element to the group, especially during the solos. Oh, and he loves playing the clavinet, and there is never too much clavinet. Finally, there is bassist Sven Pipien. Like his singing, Pipien’s bass playing is, to me, underappreciated. Not only is he always in the pocket with Gorman, but his ability to add little licks and riffs in the middle of songs adds another layer to the band. Yet, he knows his place, never trying to overstep the rest of the group, while still doing his thing. It is simply a joy to watch and listen to him play. Then again, seeing this band live is always a treat. But let’s get back to the setlist…

Besides the aforementioned songs, other highlights from the night were “Wiser Time,” “Thorn In My Pride” (but when is this song not a highlight?), and a cover of Traffic’s “Medicated Goo.” The two Crowes originals are songs that are played regularly, and for good reason. Both songs have emotional buildups that bring the crowd to a frenzy, as well as having extended breakdowns/solos/jams in the middle of the tunes. “Thorn” regularly runs about 15 minutes, and is sometimes accompanied by the jam known as “Thorn’s Progress” which can run up to 10 minutes, while “Wiser Time” includes a keyboard solo (which was very jazzy last night) and two guitar solos in the middle. Yet, neither song is “jammy,” just extended live versions. As for “Medicated Goo,” it’s just simply one of my favorite songs by Traffic and was just a treat to hear live.

Which is something I can say about all of the songs from last night, with the exception of “Garden Gate.” Now I have no problem with the song, it’s just that it just seemed to be totally out of place for the set. Now, if they had played two sets instead of one, and opened the second set with that song, it would’ve worked, but playing an acoustic folky song in the middle of an electric rock set really kills the momentum (though they did play “She Talks to Angels” with an acoustic guitar and mandolin, and that worked fine). But thankfully, it was only one song, and the band kept the energy level high for most of the night.

When you go to a Black Crowes show, you expect to experience a great rock band playing some great rock tunes, and that’s what last night was. They were focused, playing well, and having fun, which is all you can really ask for from a band. It wasn’t the best Crowes show I’ve seen, but was it was a great one, making me want to see them again some time soon. Hopefully you’ll want to see them, too.

Setlist (from
JEALOUS AGAINShake Your Money Maker
HOTEL ILLNESSThe Southern Harmony and Musical Companion
MY MORNING SONG ->  – The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion
STARE IT COLD ->  – Shake Your Money Maker
MEDICATED GOO – Last Exit (Traffic)
WISER TIME – Amorica
SHE TALKS TO ANGELS – Shake Your Money Maker
GARDEN GATE – Before The Frost…Until The Freeze
SEEING THINGSShake Your Money Maker
THORN IN MY PRIDE – The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion
REMEDYThe Southern Harmony and Musical Companion
HARD TO HANDLE ->  – Shake Your Money Maker
HUSH ->  – Shades of Deep Purple (Deep Purple)
– encore –
APPALOOSABefore The Frost…Until the Freeze
OH SWEET NUTHIN’Loaded (The Velvet Underground)
WILLIN’Sailin’ Shoes (Little Feat)