We went to see them last Friday at the Town Ballroom. I’ll start by saying that I’m a big fan of his. I’ve seen him twice with the Crows and once with Phil & Friends and I count them among my favorite shows. The Black Crows show at the Town Ballroom on 10-18-08 was phenomenal.
This was my first time seeing the new band and it was a mixed bag for me. First of all, his voice is still tremendously soulful. But it’s the songs, man. They were clearly trying to emulate the Grateful Dead, which is fine. I love The Dead. I’ve seen them and their many incarnations countless times over the years. I’m a big fan. But you have to have the songs to make it work. When the CRB played what I would call traditional first set songs, they mostly succeeded. These are mountain music songs, cowboy songs, just plain old Americana. It’s when they tried to stretch out into second set psychedelia/jam band music that they mostly failed. When I refer to first and second sets, I’m referring to traditional Grateful Dead shows. The CRB spread both types of songs throughout their 2 sets.
Also, almost every song “sort of” reminded me of a Dead tune. They were just a bit too derivative for me.
Would I see them again? I’m not sure I would. Maybe I’ll give them another try in a couple of years and see if they’ve improved. Meanwhile, I’ll go back and listen to the Crows and to the Phil & Friends show from Shea’s Buffalo with Robinson and Scofield in the band. Now that’s some smoking music.
Next show for me is The Lowest of the Low.