Nov 232010

the-black-crowes_the-tabernacle_ATL_kisses-and-noiseOver the past 20 years or so The Black Crowes carved a niche as the quintessential American rock n’ roll band. They did this by studying and practicing to receive an honorary PhD from the School of Rock. The Crowes are students of the trade, learning from the songwriting nuance of bands like The Beatles, the honky-tonk swagger of The Rolling Stones, the glam and volume of Zeppelin, the guitar power of 70′s mountain rock from bands like, well, Mountain, the jamming blues-rock prowess of The Dead, and the southern grace of the Allman Brothers just to name a few obvious influences. They are able to harness all of this and adapt it to their sound and abilities to create their own vibe. They can be gritty, folk-y, loud, jam-y, intimate, and heavy. They were all of this and more during the 2-day stint in their hometown at Atlanta, Georgia’s famed Tabernacle.

The setlists from this leg of the tour are chronicled on the band’s Facebook page. Working from a grab-bag of what seems to be close to 100 songs this time out, they play an (semi) acoustic set followed by a fully plugged-in set night to night. Each evening can be any assortment of these songs played either acoustically or with ear-shattering volume. The cool thing about the BC’s is although they can improvise and take any tune on twists and turns with expansive jams, their songs are great rock songs at the core. The jam just adds life and vitality in the live setting. Saturday night’s show saw amazing variations of Amorica‘s “Ballad in Urgency” / “Wiser Times,” By Your Side‘s “Blackberry,” and Southern Harmony and Musical Companion‘s “No Speak, No Slave” and an absolutely colossal “Thorn in My Pride.” This song, one I’ve heard many times, turned into an epic, sweeping 20 minute explosion.

The band is a well-tuned machine at this point even if they seem more like a hit crew of professionals than a bunch of guys having fun in a band. There may have even been a little “tiff” between the embattled brothers’ Robinson before “Soul Singin’” as I could catch some evil glances and CR’s slamming of the mic stand on the stage during the opening lines. Chris’s voice is fantastic despite it being the end of the tour, Steve Gorman is a force on drums, Rich Robinson may be the best true rhythm guitar player on earth, and Luther Dickinson lays down some serious shit. He may not have the ethereal beauty and grace of Marc Ford, but he is bullet-proof and edgy. Luther seems to add a heavier, more grinding feel to the live shows.

The acoustic set was 90 minutes of varied material, but still semi-plugged in. The electric set was 100 minutes of raucous energy. It was almost too much rock (if that’s possible). The volume had my ears ringing and by the end of the night I felt nauseous (in a good way?) – not from alcohol, or the swirling plumes of smoke wafting throughout the night, but from the dazzling ferocity of the set. I see shows. I’ve seen Phish, I’ve seen Slayer (a lot) and I never really got punched in the gut this hard by rock.

A few songs from the acoustic set:


Friday Night


  1. Good Friday
  2. Remedy
  3. Thorn In My Pride
  4. No Expectations (The Rolling Stones)
  5. Whoa Mule 
  6. Driving Wheel 
  7. Downtown Money Waster 
  8. What is Home 
  9. Tornado 
  10. Nonfiction
  11. My Morning Song

  12. Waiting Guilty
  13. Another Roadside Tragedy 
  14. Wiser Time 
  15. Descending 
  16. I Just Want to See His Face (The Rolling Stones)
  17. Movin’ On Down the Line 
  18. Sometimes Salvation 
  19. Hard to handle (Otis Redding)
  20. Sting Me

  21. Don’t Know Why (Eric Clapton)
  22. Poor Elijah / Tribute To Johnson

Saturday Night

- Acoustic -

  1. Jealous Again
  2. Hotel Illness
  3. Torn and Frayed (The Rolling Stones)
  4. Ballad In Urgency
  5. Wiser Time
  6. Garden Gate
  7. Cold Boy Smile
  8. Girl From A Pawnshop
  9. Darling of the Underground Press
  10. Roll Old Jeremiah
  11. She Talks To Angels


  12. Cursed Diamond
  13. Soul Singing
  14. Blackberry
  15. I Ain’t Hiding
  16. Title Song
  17. Fearless (Pink Floyd)
  18. Thorn In My Pride
  19. Goodbye Daughters of the Revolution
  20. Remedy
  21. No Speak No Slave


  22. Feelin’ Alright (Joe Cocker)
  23. Oh! Sweet Nuthin’ (Velvet Underground)

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