At their first concert in six years, the Black Crowes made a rollicking return last night at New York’s Bowery Ballroom. Formerly feuding founders — and brothers — Chris and Rich Robinson have put aside their differences for the sake of a 46-city tour celebrating the 30 th anniversary of their debut album, “Shake Your Money Maker” — a tour that had been officially announced, after weeks of speculation and an accidental leak over the weekend via a New York subway advertisement, that morning. The group will play another show at the Troubador in Los Angeles on Thursday, while the tour begins in June in Texas.
At the Bowery, Chris Robinson was in strong voice as he led the band through the album in sequence, from “Twice as Hard” to “Stare It Cold.” Dressed in black, sporting a wide-brimmed hat and white carnation, Robinson growled and rasped with vigor, wielding the mic stand like a matador’s cape. Always a dervish on stage, he tossed off his hat and jacket and spun in circles during guitar solo sections.
The brothers — who over the past five years have performed with the Chris Robinson Brotherhood and Rich’s Magpie Salute — are the only original members in the revitalized band, which also features guitarist Isiah Mitchell, bassist Tim LeFebvre, keyboardist Joel Robinow and drummer Ojha. The show built to several peaks, the mid-album torch number “Seeing Things” and the last two songs, both hard rockers, “Struttin’ Blues,” which Robinson said they hadn’t played “in a long f—in’ time,” and “Stare It Cold.”
The group encored with a predictable reading of the Rolling Stones’ “It’s Only Rock n’ Roll,” and were gone by 10:30 pm, which was pretty early by New York standards. However, for the full tour the group has promised “Money Maker in its entirety, plus all the hits!,” so a more robust setlist surely will be on tap when their 2020 tour kicks off. “See you next summer!,” Robinson waved as the group left the stage.
And although a rep for the Crowes says the group currently has no plans to record new material, they will be grinding it out on the road from June to September.