The start of Advent and the start of a new music venue and new band, sort of. The Mill opened in late September and I have to say it`s a venue that was made for this type of band. The Magpie Salute formed in October 2016 and this was really their debut tour of the UK apart from a couple of shows in London last year. It`s best to acknowledge the elephant in the room first. The band is made up of The Black Crowes Rich Robinson, former Crowes guitarist Marc Ford and bassist Sven Pipien, as well as keyboardist Matt Slocum, drummer Joe Magistro, and vocalist John Hogg. But this is not a continuation of The Black Crowes and Robinson has understandably been a little spikey when this has been put to him. The guys released their debut studio album High Water 1 in August and already have the follow up High Water 2 in the can due out mid next year. The band hit the stage and share four tracks off the debut album with my favourite the wonderful almost Nick Drake ish `High Water`, `Walk On Water`, the very deeply personnel `Color Blind` and intense `For The Wind`.
We get a couple of covers with an excellent version of Big Star`s `Feel` and a song, that singer John says was written by a guy who wears a fishing hat and tweeds with Steve Winwood and Blind Faith`s `Had To Cry Today.` Marc Ford takes over vocals for his self-written `I`m Free` and then a song written by Rich `Standing On The Surface Of The Moon` is aired.
The show takes an interesting slant as the band leave Marc, John and Rich to showcase three songs acoustically with `You Found Me`, `So Many Times` and The Black Crowes `Nonfiction` A pleasant diversion that worked well. We return to the latest release and are offered `Open Up` and `Can See You` The show is closed out with a trio of Crowes songs with `Under A Mountain`, `Paint An 8` and `No Speak No Slave` before a final cut from the latest album and the stunning `Send Me An Omen`
This was an enjoyable show which had it all and showcased the range of this cracking band with most of the debut studio album getting an airing alongside some Black Crowes classics and some interesting covers played in an electric and acoustic style. The band have over two hundred songs in their repertoire so each night something different is offed up to keep the band fresh. I was fortunate enough to see The Black Crowes at Goldwyn’s in Birmingham in 1990 on the start of their journey so was delighted to be able to witness what could be a similar journey tonight for these guys. This evening was a real taste of Blues Rock cum Southern Rock at it`s best. These certainly are one Magpie to salute.