Friday, December 7, 2012

Cosmic Country Cowboys

Saw the Chris Robinson Brotherhood last night at the Belly Up in beautiful Solana Beach, CA. I thought it would be a good show, but it exceeded my expectations. Great band, great jams, great vocals, great lights and atmosphere. It felt like a big rock show. At times, it seemed like we had taken a Quaalude time machine back to the 70's. This was some serious stoner rock, reminded me of the band Stillwater in Almost Famous. They looked and sounded the part, particularly the bass player. I bet that dude gets paid shrooms. Highlights of the night were covers of Dylan's Crash on the Levee, with some nice funk inflections, and a locked in and groovin version of the Dead's West LA Fadeaway. I was hoping to hear that one, and the crowd went bonkers throughout. They also had a driving psychedelic jam during an original song that was pretty much identical to the Dead's The Other One. That brought back some memories of how wild and exhilarating it can be to see that tune live, and how you can get lost in the songs. As my friend Tim said, 'I had a moment of clarity there, where everything made sense.' There's the feeling we forgot, the transedence that we chase at rock shows. Overall, their originals were weak, and like the Crowes seemed derivative of other classic rock. I heard hints of Loose Lucy, LA Woman, Shine on You Crazy Diamond, Little Wing, Hey Jude, and other tunes throughout. And the covers were definitely the highlight. Despite, or perhaps because of, their lack of originality, this is a great band to see live. Overall, the vibe and sound was 70's Jerry Garcia Band. The guitar had his cosmic country twang, and the songs were funked up versions of roots rock. Chirs Robinson is a rock star, a bit too much at times, but his charisma and vocal prowess are undeniable. Good times. The psychedelic cowboy rides again!