Music Reviews — 20 March 2012
Rich Robinson at the Bowery Ballroom: A Concert Review

Rich Robinson
Bowery Ballroom, New York, NY
March 19th, 2012

Concert Review: Rich Robinson at Bowery Ballroom

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With The Black Crowes on an indefinite hiatus, accomplished guitarist and subject of a recent interview, Rich Robinson made a return to New York City a priority. On Monday night, with his support band in tow, Robinson appeased a few hundred of The Crowes’ faithful with an exceptional performance of his solo material at the Bowery Ballroom. In support of October’s release “Through a Crooked Sun,” Robinson’s lengthy set encapsulated all of the musician’s sublime talents, showing off that same sense of raw soul that backed so many of The Crowes’ familiar numbers.

Immediately after taking the stage shortly after 10pm, Rich Robinson was never anything other than the coolest guy in the room. Swarms of the older skewing crowd managed to get as close to the stage as possible for a glimpse of the guitarist in the intimate setting. Outfitted in a blazer, button down shirt, and jeans, the bearded Robinson looked professorial- like he was moments away from lecturing on American domestic policy. Instead, fans were in for a no frills, blue collar type rock show which mirrored the kind you might find on a 1970’s VHS tape- just a collection of talented musicians up on stage, showing off what it is that they do best. Behind the band sat a black curtain, dolled up by a simple light show of alternating red and blues, which surprisingly did not distract from the live show and allowed fans to focus on the performance itself.

Now, it should be said that the undersold venue did not provide the same live experience as a sold out Crowes show at the Beacon Theatre. But different didn’t necessarily mean worse by any stretch and the vociferous fans on this night were certainly die-hards, shouting to Robinson in between songs and championing him supportively throughout. Openers “Fire Around” and “It’s Not Easy” strong foot stompin’, bluesy rock tunes which brilliantly energized the Monday evening crowd, just as a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Station Man” was expertly pulled off early in the set. “By the Light of the Sunset Moon” was also especially enjoyable as the backing harmonica paired excellently with Robinson’s slide, and the two diverged into an almost honky tonk style bluesy breakdown.

The talented supporting band on stage, which ranged between 3 and 4 additional members, served to purposefully showcase Robinson’s incredible musical gifts. Song by song, he seemingly brought out a different, vintage looking guitar, picking at each string with surgical precision as the band capably kept up. As bandleader, Robinson would sporadically look at each musician giving them a glance or an exaggerated nod when we wanted something out of them, meanwhile strumming his guitar with in his concentric circular motion.

The cover laden set included a trio of Neil Young numbers- including a tremendous version of “Down By the River”- as well as shades of The Rolling Stones, The Velvet Underground, and even a nod to The Crowes with “What is Home?” But the highlight of the show was waiting to see when Rich Robinson decided that he would effortlessly rip out a solo, giving just a glimpse of the immense musical talent of which he is capable. There was perhaps no more fulfilling moment than when the guitarist would step away from the microphone, close his eyes, and simply let the six strings in front of him and his accompanying foot pressed wah wah pedal sing back to him instead.

- Jane Van Arsdale

Rich Robinson – Live at the Bowery Ballroom

New York, NY

March 19th, 2012

1. Fire Around
2. It’s Not Easy
3. Lost and Found
4. Station Man (Fleetwood Mac Cover)
5. By The Light of the Sunset Moon
6. Look Through My Window
7. Winter (Rolling Stones Cover)
8. Laila II (Agitation Free Cover)
9. Standing on the Surface of the Sun
10. Falling Again
11. All Along the Way
12. Bye Bye Baby
13. What is Home (Black Crowes Song)
14. Gone Away
15. Everybody Knows This is Nowhere (Neil Young Cover)
16. Down By the River (Neil Young Cover)
17. Cinnamon Girl (Neil Young Cover)
18. Oh Sweet Nuthin’ (The Velvet Underground Cover)

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