Concert review: The Black Crowes continue rolling on

Chris Robinson showed off his still-impressive pipes at the Joint.
Photo: Scott Harrison/Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Jason Harris

Three stars

The Black Crowes December 13, the Joint.

The Black Crowes will be able to tour until they die. I can’t recall the last time I’ve seen as diverse a crowd inside the Hard Rock Hotel. Modern-day hippies, middle-aged suburbanites and older corporate cogs filled the venue, and listening to the Brothers Robinson and their mates, it’s easy to understand why. The Crowes pull from Southern rock, blues, roots music, gospel and jam sounds to create their live show. You hear all their influences—The Allman Brothers Band, The Band, The Faces—and you hear all the bands they’ve influenced: Kings of Leon, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, My Morning Jacket.

A 90-minute main set showed off a bevy of skills. Lead singer Chris Robinson, looking as Jesus-y as ever, has a voice that’s as strong now as when the band broke big in 1990, soaring on “Soul Singing” and “She Talks to Angels.” Keyboardist Adam MacDougall sounded like a player out of place, in the best possible way—on every tune it seemed like he was either playing church music or the theme song from the Charlie Brown specials. Rich Robinson and Jackie Greene took turns showing off their guitar prowess throughout the night, with long, extended breakdowns. Solos often rambled on, to the delight of jam-band aficionados, but some editing wouldn’t have hurt on songs like “Wiser Time.” It was a bit awkward watching Chris Robinson stand up there with nothing to do on the long instrumental breaks, though I guess a tambourine in every song would be overkill.

Set closer “Hard to Handle”— the Otis Redding cover and The Black Crowes’ original breakout hit—was filled with life, along with a seamless interlude of the Billy Joe Royal-penned/Deep Purple popularized “Hush.” A solid night came to an anti-climactic end with a one-song encore, the Marvin Gaye cover, “Baby Don’t You Do It.” Bands that never stop touring have to save something for tomorrow.

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