MGF Reviews The Black Crowes – Warpaint Live [DVD]

The Black Crowes – Warpaint Live [DVD; also available in Blu-Ray]
Eagle Rock Entertainment (6/30/09)
103 minutes

Warpaint Live is The Black Crowes’ new concert film, which features their latest album, Warpaint, played in its entirety. “Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye” from the record Amorica, and a few other rare cover songs are also played in front of a sold-out crowd at the Wilten in Los Angeles, filmed on March 20, 2008.

In 2005, The Black Crowes started working on new material after a five-year hiatus. It took three long years, but after much hard work, Warpaint was finally released to eager fans. Additionally, Warpaint Live is their first live effort since 2006’s CD/DVD Freak ‘n’ Roll… Into the Fog.

I’ve seen The Black Crowes six times and I couldn’t be more familiar with their sounds and stylings, which I think qualifies me to give an honest account of this, one of their live shows. Now that I’ve mentioned my familiarity with their stage prowess, I also want to mention that just because I think they’re great live, doesn’t mean that I necessarily am going to rave about all their material, especially the newer stuff.

To me and probably a lot of others, The Black Crowes sound a lot like the Rolling Stones, with a couple extra drops of Southern Comfort mixed in the drinkā€”not a bad thing since that’s a pretty damn good band to sound like. However, when your sound doesn’t break away from theirs as time marches on, it gets to be too much of the same. And, this batch of new tracks appear very one-dimensional and lackluster, especially for taking so much time off to re-group.

But as I mentioned, The Black Crowes are one hell of a live band, so by no means is the live DVD a waste of time. There are some good tunes sprinkled throughout the 17-song set. “Walk Believer Walk” carries an old blues beat and features soulful slide playing, while “Evergreen” picks up the tempo with very intense lead work and a wicked wah-pedal solo from guitarist Luther Dickinson.

“Wee Who See the Deep” keeps the gentle slide work cascading along a slow groove that also inspires vocalist Chris Robinson to pick up a guitar and strum along, while “Locust Street”, a piano-heavy ballad, is very gentle and soothing, bringing the set to a relaxed pace. “Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye” is always enjoyable with its emotional vocals and matching guitar bends, with the ability to almost make grown men cry. The set ends with the rockin’ “Hey Grandma”, which the Crowes turn into one of their classic show-ending jams.

The not-so-positive marks on the originality and freshness of The Black Crowes’ new material notwithstanding, Warpaint Live is still a concert film worth owning from one of the tightest and talented live acts this country still has to offer.