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The Nag Champa began wafting stage front at House of Blues when Chris Robinson and the Black Crowes took the stage, which had a plain, black-curtain backdrop and low cubicle-like partitions to dampen Steve Gorman's drumbeats (or to separate the always volatile Robinson brothers). Leaning into the honky-tonk chords of "Good Morning Captain," the opening song of their summer release Before the Frost..., Rich Robinson's vintage Gibson was answered by the stinging slide work of his newest foil, Luther Dickinson.

The Crowes combined the country blues and R&B they’d wood-shedded in Levon Helm's barn with their hallmark Southern boogie and a sequin of L.A. glam and left no nugget of the ’60s or ’70s unmined, from their surprising cover of the Velvet Underground's "Oh Sweet Nuthin’,” with Rich on vocals, to the disco-funk of "I Ain't Hiding."

The sell-out crowd included bearded local musicos, Relix-subscribing stoners, and several Penny Lane-a-likes, who stayed with the band for every musical detour, only sneaking off for a pee break during the Flying Burritos-tinged "Fork In the River." The die-hards were rewarded late in the set with crowd favorites "Remedy" and a two-song encore of "She Talks To Angels" and "Shake Your Money Maker."

Artist: The Black Crowes
Venue: House of Blues
Date: November 22, 2009
Seats: GA, pinned to a column by three Medeski, Martin & Wood fans

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