It was a cold school night in deepest Portswood, when we arrived at The Brook to find Rich Robinson (Black Crowes founder member and southern music legend) chatting in the foyer as the support act was finishing off his set.
On entering the bar it quickly became apparent it wasn’t going to be a busy night with only around a hundred heads inside. What a shame when you have a musician of this calibre on stage. What has happened to support your local venue and live music brigade,which were in full force a few weeks ago when neighbour Talking Heads announced it’s closure.
Rich was promoting album from late last year Through A Crooked Sun which contains some quality work of which he was showcasing tonight. His set which contained an obscure mid period Fleetwood Mac cover often meandered off into heavy prog rock solo-ing between his guitar and a Richard Manuel (The Band) lookalike swirling around impressively on his organ contorting his face and body along the way like some evil Jesus !
There were hints of Robinsons bar room blues roots when he attacked the neck of his guitar with a slide playing some southern fried licks. Following a sombre number of which he seemed to loose the crowd for a while the band launched into Neil Young’s Down by the River again with epic solos which lifted the whole room up and gave great cheers. The band and Rich himself must of thought “we’re onto a winner here” as Robinson cranked out the opening chords to another Young classic Cinamon Girl it worked !
Almost 20 minutes later and we’re back to the album tracks with added solo’s and improvised jams held together expertly by Brian his Bass player who was the dead spit of a 70′s Bobby Keys (Stones) and the real backbone of the band.
Maybe wrong to compare Robinson’s solo work to The Black Crowes (of which no songs were covered), but I couldn’t help feeling something was missing. Was it his his brother Chris’s vocals and presence? Or maybe Crowes sparring partner Marc Ford of which he used to Psychadelically weave guitars with?