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Concert Reviews:
Black Crowes Generate Some Heat At The Fillmore

Of the Oakland Press

Posted: Sunday, December 7, 2008

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DETROIT -- Detroit, Black Crowes frontman Chris Robinson noted near the beginning of the group's weekend stop at the Fillmore East, is "a Saturday night rock 'n' roll town."

And the Crowes' typically accomplished and explosive performance Saturday (Dec. 6) turned a bitterly cold and snowy night into a blisteringly hot rock 'n' roll party.

There was much to celebrate for the Crowes and their 2,200-plus fans who braved the early blast of Arctic weather for the nearly two-hours show. Making its first nesting in the Motor City environs since the summer of 2007, the Crowes came with new music -- seven of 16 songs were from this year's "Warpaint," the group's first studio album in seven years -- and with a couple of fresh members, particularly guitarist Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars, whose countenance and playing style, particularly on slide, fit seamlessly into the Crowes' fluidly muscular and musically broad approach.

And inasmuch as the sextet -- abetted by two female backup singers -- was playing to a gathering of vociferous die-hards, the Crowes brought out the kind of set they would appreciate. There were a couple of well-known favorites -- "Twice as Hard" and the group's hit version of Otis Redding's "Hard to Handle" -- but the Crowes left even more on the bench, eschewing signature songs such as "Jealous Again," "Remedy" and "She Talks to Angels."

Instead the group dove deep into its 18-year-old repertoire, fanning the faithful with the likes of "Stare it Cold," "Losing My Mind," the joyous "Soul Singing" and the mid-'90s outtake "Feathers." The "Warpaint" material, including a soaring sequence of "Walk Believer Walk," "Oh Josephine" and "Locust Street" -- was well-received, and a cover of Bob Dylan's "Girl From the North Country" was revelatory, with extending soloing by both Dickinson and guitar mate Rich Robinson.

"My Morning Song" was the night's epic, meanwhile, fortified with some lengthy, pleasantly meandering jammming that spread from Grateful Dead-style noodling to hard rock punch and incorporated a bit of Muddy Waters' blues standard "Honey Bee." The Crowes finished on a blues tip, too, encoring with Elmore James' "Shake Your Money Maker" -- after which the group titled its 1990 debut album.

It was back to cold, snowy reality after the final bows, of course, but the Crowes' overdue visit certainly rekindled a warm relationship with their Detroit devotees.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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