My buddy Andrew and I were standing around, beers in hand, waiting for the band to take the stage. As with majority of the other shows I find myself at, I had no clue what we could expect so we used the down time to do a little Googling.

Did you know the lead singer of The Black Crowes is named Chris Robinson? Andrew and I were at a Chris Robinson Brotherhood show… yeah, I got excited.

The Black Crowes may not be what I usually listen to but they were a constant in the playlist of my teenage years. I worked at a small record shop in Des Moines when I was younger. I loved sitting there, listening to my music, and judging other people based on what they brought up to the counter to buy from me. My boss was a burnt out hippie that just couldn’t seem to pull it together. I remember walking into the store on a daily basis and being greeted by the stench of nag champa and weed and hearing the sounds of The Black Crowes. Of course, as soon as the bossman walked out of the store, I would change the music to something more of my speed, but I still heard my share of The Black Crowes.

Last night was billed as “An Evening with The Chris Robinson Brotherhood”. It always makes me nervous when one band is playing for the whole night. In my mind, the more bands that play in a single night, the higher the chance is of me finding something I like. When it’s just one single band, if I don’t like it, I’m just kind of screwed. There’s no waiting it out, no countdown to the next band, I’m stuck. Even though there was just the one band last night, it seemed to work and, instead of counting down the time to the end, I found myself lost in a world that I rarely get to experience.

The Chris Robinson Brotherhood had a very jam band feel to them. It was bluesy, rocky, country-y… it was a bit of everything put into a band. At first, I was skeptical of how long I would last through the concert. I quickly realized that I couldn’t tell when one song ended and another started and I came to the realization that that really didn’t matter at a show like there. There were a bunch of guys on stage literally just jamming out and having a good time and that was more than enough to keep me interested.

Not only was the genre all over the place, but the instrumentation was layer upon layer upon layer. I found myself mesmerized by the keyboardist who seemed to be trapped in his fortress of keyboards. There was one on each side of him and one in front of him creating a U shape of black and white around him. I loved how he could seamlessly switch between the different boards with such different sounds but, unless you were looking or listening for it, you really couldn’t tell. Being a pianist, my ears and eyes went straight to the keys but with so much else going on, it was hard to stay there.

I know this sounds weird, but I really didn’t know what to do at a concert like this. Andrew and I found ourselves just outside of the “dancing section” that had opened up towards the back of the crowded venue. I knew I wasn’t going to even attempt to dance with the people dressed in plaid and cowboy boots. They were dancing to a beat that I didn’t even hear and honestly, with the amount of smoking they were doing when security wasn’t looking, I think they may have been the only ones that heard that beat. Regardless, the crowd watching was prime and, even though I stuck out like a sore thumb, I felt more than comfortable.

Last night definitely wasn’t my usual kind of show but my “Evening with Chris Robinson Brotherhood” ended up being a good time.

Line Up:

Chris Robinson Brotherhood


Venue: Varsity Theater

Sausage Fest Meter- 3 out of 10

Average Age of the Crowd- 45

Crowd Surfers- 0

Stage Divers-0

Broken Bones- None

Fights- 0

Drunkards Taken Out By Security- None

Celebrity Sightings- None

Overall Score- 5 out of 10

Show on Deck- Alestorm/ Nekrogoblikon/ Aether Realm + More