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What an awesome way to kick off the weekend! On Friday The Black Crowes brought their "Shake Your Money Maker" Tour to Stir Cove and they had the place rocking.
It's hard to believe it's been 32 years since Shake Your Money Maker was released. I'll never forget riding the bus to school and hearing "Hard To Handle" on my cheap Walkman radio with those scratchy foam headphones. After all this time Shake Your Money Maker still holds up as a classic rock staple and it was cool to see the band perform all the songs from front to back.
Before The Black Crowes took the stage we heard from The Texas Gentlemen. The band kicked things off with a poppy mix of yacht rock and soul-tinged jams. Having never heard the band and just going by the name, I was expecting Lynard Skynard but what we got was closer to Steely Dan. After the third song the keyboard player mentioned "Crowds are usually surprised when they hear our sound. They expect us to be a little more country. Well here's a country tune for you". The Texas Gentlemen proceeded to strum a little ballad about West Texas Cops. The injection of humor was well received and the band looked like they were having a blast. I know I sure was.
The lead singer mentioned that the band has a new album coming soon and that Chris Robinson of The Black Crowes helped produce it. The crowd went wild for this news. The band closed with a galloping rock tune that had funky keyboards reminiscent of Yes and eerie vocals that channeled Jim Morrison. The Texas Gentlemen did a great job warming the crowd. I'll be excited to see where these guys go from here.
As the crew set up the stage a giant backdrop was hung from the trestles. The Black Crowes' iconic mascots (two inebriated crows) could be seen driving a "Shake Your Money Maker" tour bus down the road. In front of the banner set a full working bar with shelves full of liquor and a Wurlitzer juke box. A bartender with coat tails made his way onto the stage and behind the bar. The juke box lit up with a rocking blues number as the backing band gathered around for a pre-show whiskey shot. As the juke box was pushed back stage, brothers Chris and Rich Robinson stepped out to raucous applause. I could hear someone in the crowd say "32 years later!" I'm assuming in reference to Shake Your Money Maker which was released in 1990.
The band kicked things off with "Twice As Hard", the opening track on Shake Your Money Maker, a slow building blues tune. The crowd was on their feet and ready to party. I looked to the folks in the front row and they were rocking straight away singing every word.
The Black Crowes sounded great, like they haven't lost a step. The harmonies were on point and I caught a great shot of Chris and Rich sharing the microphone. Chris did his best moon child dancing sprawling across the stage, first with an umbrella and later swinging the microphone stand. Over the last few years I've started following the band Dirty Honey and I can see where DH lead singer Marc Labelle gets so many of his moves! The Black Crowes even took Dirty Honey on the road with them for the first leg of the "Shake Your Money Maker" tour. It's cool to see a lot of newer bands are getting their influence from original hit makers like The Black Crowes, Aerosmith, and Led Zepplin.
The Black Crowes proceeded to rock through the full Shake Your Money Maker album and a few extra hits before thanking everyone for coming out. You couldn't have asked for better weather on a beautiful Friday night. I think I even saw a few jackets in the crowd, oh sweet relief! Stir Cove has plenty of shows left on the schedule so there's still a chance to get in on the action. Look out for The Struts on September 22, this show promises to be one of the best of the year!
Thanks so much to Stir Cove for photo access and being the ultimate professionals in the live music industry.
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The Texas Gentlemen
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