Although XPN essentially panned As The Crow Flies’ Philadelphia debut last Wednesday at the Electric Factory as Chris Robinson’s Black Crowes cover band, lacking the chemistry and musicianship that he long had with brother Rich and drummer Steve Gorman, and having the audacity to play a set chock-full-o-hits (something The Black Crowes have never done), I actually had quite a good time (aside from having to put up with middle-aged white bourgeoise Eagles fans… the rudest of all living species…) Yes, Chris Robinson’s latest project (It’s worth nothing that it is just a “project” and not his full-time gig.) is essentially a tribute to the band that made him famous, and the players don’t quite gel in the way that the actual Crowes did and they did play far more “hits” than were ever included in a Black Crowes set, but I found it quite nice to revisit the greatest Rock’N’Roll frontman of the ‘90s return to that role as a Rock’N’Roll “frontman” (Sure, you may appreciate the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, but I appreciate him far more in his moments channeling Iggy Pop and Mick Jagger than those channeling The Grateful Dead or The Byrds.) Here are 5 highlights of the evening.
5. “High Head Blues”
This Amorica cut would seem to embody the better part of The Black Crowes’ wheelhouse: A Southern twang, big city funk, the kind of sonic sunshine hippies seem to love, and the punch of shit-kicking hard rock.
4. “Thorn in My Pride”
This early single swirls a top notch Southern rock ballad into a psychedelic jam that’s as enjoyable as any time you’ve been fucked up on moonshine or LSD…
3. “By Your Side”
Although many of their biggest ‘90s fans championed their time as a “jam band,” 1999’s By Your Side saw The Black Crowes kick out a collection of short and sweet rock anthems, with a dash of glam. The title track is one of their best examples.
2. “My Morning Song”
I can only imagine that The Black Crowes’ most epic and essential song of all-time began as a hangover song, but wound up a gospel… as all truly great hangover songs do…
1. The dancing!!!!!!
Even if you don’t appreciate his current band, how can you not love getting to see the best frontman of his generation put down the guitar and bring back some of the greatest dance moves Rock’N’Roll has ever seen?!?!?!