Back in the nineties The Black Crowes release Shake Your Money Maker, but it wasn’t till “The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion” that I got hooked. Man, that seems like a long time ago.
Lead singer Chris Robinson is touring with the Chris Robinson Brotherhood now and I could not let the change pass me by to see him in Groningen. It is however not the first time I saw him.
In January 2002 The Black Crowes were temporarily disbanded and lead singer Chris Robinson took the opportunity to travel through Europe with a friend, playing some low key shows here and there, landing him in Hellendoorn in May 2002, which then had a superb venue called De Lantaarn that I as a starting concert photographer visited a lot in that time. Back in the days of analog photography I (nervously) shot one roll of film as Chris was playing laid-back surrounded by the audience.
Since then the Black Crowed have reunited and disbanded again, Chris has recorded with hos brother (Birds of a Feather) and recorded a fantastic 70’s rock album This Magnificent Distance with the band New Earth Mud. But after all this I lost track of Chris a bit and was much surprised to find that there are already three albums by the Chris Robinson Brotherhood. It’s about time I see the band again then!
So on the second day of March, with the music of the Cross Linx festival still ringing in my ears, I headed to De Oosterpoort for some good old smoking soulful rock & roll of the Brotherhood, the band has Neal Casal on guitar, Adam MacDougall on keyboards, Mark Dutton on bass and Tony Leone on drums.
No opening acts to warm up the audience, a little after eight Chris and band were on stage and started the set. The songs were great, Chris’s voice is still fantastic, and when the band joins in on harmonies it’s simply amazing! But that said it was all just a little bit on the safe side. There were no moments where they simply took of into nowhere, even though the songs lend themselves so well for that. The solos sounded good, but just a little bit too neat.
After a good 45 minute the band announced a short break and promised to come back for a second set. It’s a good thing they did, the second set was way more adventurous with longer and fantastic solos, the keyboards taking off somewhere into space and Chris singing and jumping behind the microphone. That’s what I wanted to see!
Most of the songs were by the Brotherhood, but in the end they added a bit of old time magic with Hard To Handle, from the Black Crowes debut album, that worked really well.
A fantastic bunch of musicians playing really well, but it would have been even better if they’s have been a bit ‘harder to handle’ from the start and the only other thing I really missed was interaction with the audience as that was kapt to a bare minimum. Other than that I was jamming and grooving and it was a great, great gig!