THE BLACK CROWES at THE OGDEN THEATRE 11/13/13 While the crowd on Wednesday night seemed completely receptive to first of the Black Crowes' three nights at the Ogden Theatre, the place pretty much exploded with energy once the band launched into "Remedy" about an hour and a half into its set and kept igniting the packed venue with a fair amount of grit and muscle on covers of Otis Redding's "Hard to Handle," which segued into Deep Purple/Billy Joe Royal's "Hush."
The band came out strong, opening with the hearty medium tempo rockers, "Under a Mountain" and "Nebakanezer," both from 1996's Three Snakes and One Charm before delving into a fair amount of deep cuts, which the band has been doing on its current Lay Down With Number 13 tour, the first trek after a two-year hiatus.
Early in the set, after the band plowed through "Cypress Tree," frontman Chris Robinson dedicated the rarely played "No Use for Lying" to all the young lovers in the audience. Opening with Rich Robinson's slow intro on guitar, which sounded like it was run through a rotary effect and wah pedal, parts of the song felt like a distant cousin to Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun."
The extended psychedelic jam on "Nonfiction" featured some deft guitar soloing from both Rich Robinson and Jackie Greene, who joined the band earlier this year and replaced Luther Dickinson while "Paint an 8," another seldom played cut, was one of the more vigorous tunes of the night.
Rich Robinson handled lead vocals on a no-nonsense run through the Kinks' "Powerman" and "Ballad in Urgency" had a solid slow build until it segued into jam that lead into "Wiser Time" from 1994's Amorica that has been a staple in the band's sets for years. The song gave Adam MacDougall a chance to fully stretch out, starting out on the electric piano, then organ and Clavinet before Greene chimed in slowly on a solo that gradually built in force until he the song kicked into a groove that echoed that of the finale of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird." The band brought it back down and Rich Robinson, foot on the wah pedal, dug into some tasty fretwork and Greene joined in later for easily some of the best guitar shredding of the night.
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After "Welcome to the Goodtimes," with the Robinson brothers both playing acoustic guitars, drummer Steve Gorman came out from behind his kit and sat on a stool near the front of the stage with a doumbek drum while Greene strapped on a mandolin for "Whoa Mule," which featured some fine vocal harmony work from pretty much everyone in the outfit except Gorman.
While finishing out the first set with that insane one-two-three punch of "Remedy," "Hard to Handle" and "Hush" was the heaviest part of the night, closing on the Little Feat's"Willin'," the second encore, was a damn near perfect way to end the night.
The Black Crowes Ogden Theatre - 11/13/13 Denver, CO
Under a Mountain Nebakanezer Cypress Tree No Use Lying Nonfiction Paint an 8 Powerman (Kinks cover) Ballad in Urgency Wiser Time Welcome to the Goodtimes Whoa Mule Remedy Hard to Handle (Otis Redding cover)/Hush (Deep Purple/Billy Joe Royal cover)
Encore Feathers Willin' (Little Feat cover)
Personal Bias: While sometimes delving into a bunch of a deep cuts can be a mixed blessing, the Black Crowes pulled it off. Random Detail: A DJ spinning older rock vinyl opened the show. By the Way: The Black Crowes play two more shows at the Ogden this weekend.
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