Chris Robinson Brotherhood – University of London (16th March 2018)

Feel good music returns to our shores with the Chris Robinson Brotherhood. It’s been two years since the California bliss merchants played the UK, and have we missed them? That’s a resounding, Yes! The show is sold out but I think the booking agent got this venue wrong. Two years ago they sold out Koko in Camden, London which is more than double the capacity of this venue so fans are squeezed in nice and tight.

Behold The Seer, John Lennon’s Watching The Wheels and a couple of verses from Venus In Chrome sounded great at the soundcheck. This was the final show of a sold out European tour and they opened with Seven Nights To Rock, a rockabilly song from the 50s. Rosalee from album Big Moon Ritual and High Is Not The Top from new album Barefoot In The Head sound fantastic. Listening to the Chris Robinson Brotherhood is to be wrapped in a sonic blanket of blues, folk and country. Robinson is so prolific as a songwriter, singer and historian of music with this band that you can never second guess which songs he will play each night. They end the 1st set with Lazy Days a great country rock song by Gram Parsons and recorded by The Byrds and The Flying Burrito Bros.

After a short break the second set kicks off with a cover of the Rolling Stones, Loving Cup and you can see Robinson is in a “taking care of business’  state of mind. I’m A Hog For You by songwriting greats Leiber and Stoller really stands out with solos from Casal on guitar and MacDougall on keys. Robinson playing harmonica with blues soul. This song really brought the musicality of the rhythm section to the front to. At one point during the song a fan tries to invade the stage but is wafted off by Robinson. Behold The Seer from the new album is an up-tempo groove “Keep Your engine humming and keep your eyes wide ahead.” The show ends with an encore of pennon’s Watching The Wheels. The lyrics of Lennon’s song “People say I’m crazy, doing what I’m doing” seem very apt for Robinson who has been criticised for not getting the Black Crowes back together but the CRB are now his preeminent after releasing five studio albums and an E.P. and after two and half hours of music you have to say… Please don’t wait another two years to return.

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