On Monday, Nov. 11, music fans squeezed into the sold-out, 575 capacity Bowery Ballroom to take in the return of The Black Crowes.
The house lights lowered around 9:30 p.m., and as the band sauntered onstage to the sound of James Brown’s “Sex Machine,” the audience collectively held their breath, in anticipation of the Crowes’ first flight since 2013.
And as guitarist Rich Robinson leaned into the opening bars of “Twice As Hard” and frontman Chris Robinson tipped his hat to the crowd, the duo set off on the entirety of Shake Your Money Maker, sounding as good as they did in ’90 and refusing to miss a single note.
“Nice to see everyone this evening,” Chris said after the opening. “We came to play some fuckin’ rock and roll music.”
Despite their past grudges, the Robinson brothers seemed in good spirits all night long, sharing a microphone to sing on “Jealous Again” and exchanging sly smiles between songs.
Backing the brothers, the new Crowes lineup showcased former Tedeschi Trucks Band bassist Tim LeFebvre as well as guitarist Isiah Mitchell of Earthless. The band was rounded out by keyboardist Joel Robinow and drummer Raj Ojha (both of psych-rock outfit Once and Future Band).
Obvious highlights were the band’s classic take on Otis Redding’s “Hard To Handle” as well as “She Talks To Angels,” which saw the two brothers shimmying along to the music.
The following “Struttin’ Blues” marked the Crowes first performance of the song since October ’92 (Robinson even joked, that the particularly old members of the audience may have seen the song in person the last time it was performed.)
After album-closer “Stare It Cold,” the room erupted in applause and Chris bowed, saying, “That’s our presentation for the night, thank you.”
For the band’s single encore, they played The Rolling Stones “It’s Only Rock and Roll,” capturing the Crowes’ new, rock-oriented outlook, refusing to take themselves or the music too seriously.
And with a cross country tour on the horizon, the Bowery Ballroom show was a good omen for things to come. From all accounts, the Robinson clan is reunited and ready to rock.
Check out the full setlist – and photos by Marc Millman – below (to see a full photo gallery from The Black Crowes’ reunion click here).
The Black Crowes
Nov. 11, 2019
Bowery Ballroom, New York City
Twice as Hard, Jealous Again, Sister Luck, Could I’ve Been So Blind, Seeing Things, Hard to Handle, Thick N’ Thin, She Talks to Angels, Struttin’ Blues^, Stare It Cold
Enc: It’s Only Rock and Roll
^LTP 10/14/92, Dallas, Texas