Confession time: I haven't seen the Black Crowes since 1991. Goodness knows why – Shake Your Money Maker is one of my all time favourite albums, a desert island disc I never tire of – but somehow I've allowed this phenomenal band to drop from my musical radar.
Back in 1991, Rich Robinson was a mere boy, shy and slender in a velvet jacket and paisley shirt. Now he looks like Opie from Sons of Anarchy: scruffy and bearded, clad casually in jeans and a hooded sweatshirt, he's the least rock starry rock star I've ever seen, more like my brother-in-law than Kate Hudson's.
Disappointingly, but not surprisingly, he's not here to regale us with the Black Crowes' back catalogue either. Freed from the shadow of his elder brother, Rich is gonna play whatever the hell he likes – which turns out to be a psychedelic, bluesy mix of solo material from his albums Paper and Through a Crooked Sun and covers that hark back nostalgically to the '60s and '70s, often sounding as if Robinson and his fellow bearded bandmates are out in the desert searching for the New Sound. 'This one requires a little patience,' he notes of a somewhat interminable War cover. You're not kidding…
Rich is an amazing guitarist, the sound flowing effortlessly like water, but he's no showman and at times it's almost as if we're watching a rehearsal, the band jamming seamlessly, joyously, lost in their own little muso world. (Like Rich, the rest of the band are superb virtuoso musicians.)
So all in all, though the gig wasn't entirely my cup of tea, it was nonetheless exciting and inspiring to see a band with such impressive technical abilities at such close quarters, clearly loving what they do. Rich Robinson may not be starry, but he's a bona fide rock god all the same.