By Chyrisse Tabone, Rock At Night Tampa
Venue: Jannus Live, St. Pete, Florida–October 26, 2017
The first time I was introduced to The Magpie Salute was with the video “Omission”. I was hooked. This was the best of the best—a solid classic blues-rock sound with a touch of funk (think of Sly & the Family Stone). I always loved Black Crowes so my enthusiasm piqued at the thought of the band touring to Florida. Hell yeah!
The Magpie Salute arrived to Jannus Live, St. Petersburg, on a perfect balmy Fall night. It was actually sweater weather and the perfect atmosphere for what essentially was the closest one could be to Black Crowes—again. The Magpie Salute is comprised of former Black Crowes musicians Rich Robinson (guitar, vocals), Marc Ford (lead guitar), Sven Pipien (bass), and back-up singer Charity White. New musicians include John Hogg (vocals), Nick Rosen (keys), Joe Magistro (drums), Nico Bereciartua (guitar), and back-up singers Adrien Reju and Katrine Ottosen.
The Magpie Salute started out with a few Crowes tunes, much to the crowd’s delight. Although the crowd was smaller than I anticipated, they were rock-hard, enthusiastic folks who clapped, hooted, and hollered after each song. I chatted with a couple of folks who said, “Probably football is competing with the concert tonight.” It was their loss, no doubt, because Magpie Salute put on one hell of a show.
There were over two hours of solid music of not only Black Crowes’ songs like “Seeing Things” and “Thorn in My Pride” but Marc Ford’s songs, with “Smoke Signals” and “I’m Free”, being personal favorites. Another stand-out was Robinson’s song “Sleepwalker”, which has almost a Tom Petty feel to it.
Other favorites included “Omission”, which was actually composed during Robinson’s and Hogg’s tenure with Hookah Brown. Robinson chatted with the audience between some of the songs saying, “Most of you are here because you saw us on Good Morning Tampa at 7:30 a.m. this morning.” Robinson, Ford, and Hogg performed on the show as a trio and I am sure it was a challenge performing that early in the morning!
The Magpie Salute performed a riveting cover of Big Star’s “Feel” and a rockin’ rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Time Passes Slowly”, featuring killer slide guitar accompaniment by Bereciartua. Much to my surprise they played the danceable and uplifting reggae tune “How Long Will It Take” by Pat Kelly. “Stand Back” by The Allman Brothers was a crowd favorite as I saw a few lone guys doing what I call the “Grateful dead hippie freak dance.”
Overall, the evening was outstanding! The harmonies were splendid, the playing was tight, and kudos to the back-up singers, who totally fleshed out the classic blues-rock sound. I really look forward to hearing a studio album come out from the band. A personal message to Black Crowes fans, you need to make a point to see Magpie Salute. The band is really the evolution of Crowes in keeping with the traditional sound yet I truly enjoy Hogg’s vocal renditions and look forward to more fresh takes.
As far as covers go, my request to the band is try some songs by Sly & the Family Stone and more Humble Pie (they didn’t do any last night in St. Pete but I understand they have in other shows). They seem to vary the set list for each show so special surprises await.
Videos taken by fans at Jannus Live, St. Petersburg, Florida–October 26,2017
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