Robinson brothers offer most welcome surprise

Brighton Music Hall, Boston, February 19, 2020

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

Chris Robinson acknowledged the obvious early on. "We hadn't played like this in a long time, and people didn't think Rich and I would play again," Chris said.

True, but The Black Crowes will reunite this summer for a 47-show tour. This was the appetizer for that reunion tour as the mainstays of The Black Crowes - Chris and Richie Robinson - are touring under the Birds of a Feather moniker. The two previously toured under that name way back in 2006.

Only the third show in and first on this side of the Atlantic, brothers Robison served up a satisfying acoustic-only show almost entirely of songs of The Black Crowes.

From the get go of the 80-minute outing, the Robinsons ably showed that their songs have stood the test of time, starting with "Jealous Again," "Twice As Hard" and "Wiser Time."

Toned down due to the acoustic nature of the evening, the Robinsons maintained a soulful, bluesy vibe from the start to finish. It certainly helps to have a vocalist like Chris, who seemed to have taken a few lessons from the Allmans and Otis Redding among others in figuring out who he is musically. Robinson also blew harp a few times, underscoring the blues element. Looking good, Robinson was his usual animated, engaged self.

The brothers were near polar opposites when it comes to stage presence. Chris did almost all the talking, often with a sense of humor, sometimes a tad biting (such as in asking the crowd to quiet down at one point from chattering), but always with a sense of gratitude even if playing to a packed house of only 600 people in comparison to the summer outdoor sheds the Robinsons soon will be playing.

As for Richie, it's a good thing he had just the right touch on his guitars including slide on a number of songs - because he played the low-key, mainly silent foible to his brother. Richie offered backing vocals here and there, and the only time he talked concerned his guitar being out of tune before the song started.

No matter because it was great to hear the music of The Black Crowes once again re-envisioned for a duo. Surprises like this are most welcome.