i really dig the Black Crowes. Back when i was in college, i had this elaborate plan to join their tour crew as a roadie and even got so far as meeting the boys in the band back in ’95 when i worked at Buddy Guy’s Legends, but that’s a story for another campfire. As the years have gone by, i’ve grown somewhat out of touch with the band, but that certainly didn’t stop me from taking one of my innumerable brothers to catch them at the 9:30 this past weekend.
Now, my first Crowes show was close to 20 years ago, i’m saddened to admit, and suffice to say, the band has morphed over the years. Even with a somewhat similar line-up (always good to see the Brothers Robinson share the stage), the band has gone from a straight up southern rock outfit to more of a jam band. Having seen Phish just a scant few weeks ago, i’m about jammied up for the next year or so, but fortunately, the Crowes only delved into heavy jamming sporadically. The set was an incredible mix of earlier stuff (“She Talks to Angels,” “Remedy,” “Wiser Time”) and covers (the Joe Cocker version of “Feelin’ Alright,” Pink Floyd’s “Fearless“), and only a handful of tracks with which i was wholly unfamiliar. All in all, a damn fine night musically. And with a three and a half hour show (two sets and an encore with two brief intermissions), that’s really a must. The last time i caught the fine feathered friends, i didn’t recognize a damn song that did that entire evening. This clearly is the preferred way to go. When they closed with Ry Cooder’s “Boomer’s Story,” which i hadn’t heard since i saw them in Italy back in 94, well, let’s just say the evening was capped perfectly.
Now, as rocking as things were musically, a couple of negatives must be addressed. As regular readers are more than well aware, we tend to go to the 9:30 Club a LOT, and this was, hands down, the rudest crowd i’ve ever encountered there. Pushing, elbowing, shoving, no “excuse me’s,” quite frankly, it was the height of rudeness. And here’s the fucking kicker–every rude asshole there was 40 or older. C’mon, folks, get your shit together. When i see 20-year-olds actually with more decorum at a hippie concert, well, something ain’t right. As i’m getting awfully close to that 40 barrier myself, i can just tell you all to shoot me if i ever get that way. Secondly, well over half the merch, including both posters and at least one tee shirt, were from previous tours (all you had to do was check the dates and locations written). Now, i’m all for pimping your product as best as possible, but the Crowes already are the most expensive merch act that comes to the club ($30 for a tee shirt?!?!), so you’d think they’d at least keep their shit current. Well, think again, and keep your eyes open if you find yourself looking to schwag out the next time you catch them. The boys will rock your ass off, but you’ve got to watch out for damn near every other sucker there.
For today’s mp3 offering, i’ve got a bootleg recording of the Black Crowes at a secret acoustic show at Ronnies Scott’s Jazz Club in Soho, London back in June 20, 1991. The quality is phenomenal, and the boys are in rare form. Enjoy.