By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa Correspondent
Venue: State Theatre, St. Petersburg, Florida–July 19, 2016
Back in the 90s during the “hey day” of the Black Crowes I saw them two glorious and memorable times. I remember it was the next best thing to seeing Humble Pie and always wondered how contemporary bands could truly embrace and play (not mimic) the 70s blues-rock with such soul. Of course, we all have heard stories about the tension between the brothers (it reminds me of Oasis)—but out of the ashes came a wonderful and new band Chris Robinson Brotherhood, which is carrying on the 60s retro vibe but in a different way—jam band rock with a bluesy-bluegrass and even funk vibe of its own.
Chris Robinson Brotherhood performed at the State Theatre, St. Petersburg, Florida to a jam-packed crowd on July 19th. When I walked into the venue, I felt like I was at a Wannee Festival—there were tons of people wearing tie-dyed shirts, fringed boots, dreadlocks, peace signs, and garb that would have fit in nicely in Haight-Ashbury. There was no photo pit in the venue so I had to stake my claim at the stage front, where I chatted with folks until the band started. I chatted with a nice guy wearing a Gov’t Mule shirt and the young lady who was at her first concert (yes!) since her “boyfriend enjoys concerts” and she wanted to share a nice bonding experience. I told her she was “in for a treat.”
There was no support band so Chris Robinson Brotherhood played two long sets and an encore of songs from CRB’s upcoming release Anyway You Love, We Know How You Feel (release date July 29, 2016 on Robinson’s Sliver Arrow Records label) as well as covers from beloved bands like T-Rex (“Rabbit Fighter”), The Band (“This Wheels On Fire”), Bob Dylan (“It’s All Over Now Baby Blue”), and Hoyt Axton (“Never Been to Spain”). Listening to the CRB, I kept thinking I was hearing the Grateful Dead at times and soaked in the wonderful harmonies, reminiscent of the Eagles or Crosby, Stills, and Nash. I was extremely impressed with the quality of the musicians in CRB, which consists of Adam MacDougall (keys), Neal Casal (lead guitar), Jeff Hill (bass), and Tony Leone (drums). Gazing at the instruments, especially the keyboards, the instruments appeared vintage. I noticed the lovely Moog synth that MacDougall would hop on and later turn around to play a blues-rock organ. He added the psychedelic spice to a lot of the songs with his little nuances.
Overall, the audience was swaying and nodding to the jam music which was really relaxing and a welcome relief from a lot of the music heard on regular FM radio (I gave it up about eight years ago). Tune into SiriusXM’s Jam On station (Channel 29) and listen to some great jam band music –in fact Chris Robinson is hosting a show called “Gurus Galore” the first Monday of each month.
**My favorite song of the evening is the new single “Narcissus Soaking Wet”–it has a funky 70s groove, a killer harp solo, and almost sounds Stevie Wonder-ish. Love it!
Live in St. Petersburg-July 19, 216