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Music Review: The Black Crowes – Warpaint Live

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Written by Fumo Verde

If you like deep blues mixed in with your rock ‘n’ roll, then the Black Crowes should be on your list of who to see next. Warpaint was the first album cut after the band took a five-year hiatus and though a critic from Maxim gave it a bad review, we have to remember that that kat didn’t even listen to it. I did and I like it.

So why a live CD? Live CDs have a feel to them studio cuts can’t reflect, such as the sound of the crowd roaring when a favorite song comes along or how the band members interact with that crowd and how they interact with each other. Details like these bring a different spirit to a live disc and this double-CD set contains those little details, making up a great show. The Black Crowes put on a great show and I know this from personal experience. “Warpaint” was great and Warpaint Live brings the spirit of the music to your speakers and makes you want save up for tickets.

Like the studio disc, the live show opens with “Goodbye Daughters of the Revolution” and mirrors the studio album track list. CD number one is the whole Warpaint album, while disc number two contains six other tracks the band recorded just for this album. Now that’s a killer deal, to have some unrecorded tunes come in during the second set is like extra icing on your cake. The Los Angeles audience who was privy to catch this show, I envy you.

Some of my favorites are “Evergreen” with its deep bass intro that dances into some waltzing guitar riffs, and “We Who See The Deep” which rips open with a riff reminiscent of Chicago’s “25 or 6 to 4” but slower, like a sweet southern drawl. “Locust Street” has to be the song I like the most off this album with its wandering melody and gentle lyrics. “Dry bread on the table, burn the milk, salt the paper/ And its easy pickings on Locus Street/ There’s no place to hide/ And you can’t find love on Locust Street/ But you can hear the sunrise crying…”

If you’re like me and you liked the studio disc, the live one will be a favorite too, especially when you pop in the disc number two. “Poor Elijah – Tribute to Johnson (Medley),” “Darling of the Underground Press,” and “Torn and Frayed” have more of a blues touch than a rock one. “Don’t Know Why” starts out with a rock riff, but softly glides into a blues melody then explodes into a rock jam as the instruments come alive then quietly step back as the lyrics fall in to the fray. This tune has more of a gospel sound with its tempo and its feel. I enjoyed all six tracks but “Hey Grandma” has to be the one I like the most. If Bugs Bunny were to say, “A little traveling music, Doc,” this song would start up and off that rascally rabbit would go. This jam opens up the guitar strings and lets them rip it up.

I complain about having albums with most of the same tunes on them, but with five new tracks, the record company finally gave us a deal. While I sit typing away and playing the music, I must remind myself to pick up some tickets the next time they come around, but for now, Warpaint Live will have to do.

Thank you, Black Crowes. Wherever you are.

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