The Mag­pie Salute

Lon­don Oslo

Classic Rock - - Live! - Nick Hasted

Wel­come to Rich Robin­son’s part-time folk club.

In the up­stairs room of one of East Lon­don’s less ob­jec­tion­ably trendy bars, three men on stools roll back the years. It was al­ways the ide­al­ism that the Black Crowes sal­vaged from the end of the 60s, as much as the Stones and Faces sounds, that made them mat­ter, and tonight that band’s for­mer guitarist Rich Robin­son’s new out­fit chan­nel the har­monies and rev­er­ies of acous­tic Crosby, Stills & Nash.

The packed au­di­ence are stoked to be shar­ing this tight space with a Crowe; less so that many can’t see ei­ther him or seden­tary, core Mag­pie Salute band­mates Marc Ford and main singer John Hogg.

But with­out the rau­cous elec­tric punch of new al­bum High Wa­ter, this un­plugged Salute rarely soar.

Among the strongly melodic new songs show­cased, key­boards and Span­ish gui­tars colour Can You See’s lament for ‘hu­man­ity, si­phoned off by the vir­tual stream’. The Crowes’ Bad Luck Blue Eyes Good­bye sees Hogg hit the open-throated, quest­ing soul-rock vein of Tu­pelo Honey-era Van Mor­ri­son, with the acous­tic strums now sim­i­larly ur­gent. Wiser Time then lets them end with an old prom­ise: ‘On a good day, I know it ain’t ev­ery day, we can part the sea.’

They can’t on this low-key ex­cur­sion, but as a joint guitar coda ex­tends the com­mu­nal fin­ish we leave with a taste of what we came for.

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