THE BLACK CROWES
with Dirty Honey
September 15, 2021
Photos & Review by Michael LaFleche
MANSFIELD, Mass. – What a great night for an outdoor, large scale show at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield for some good old-fashioned rock ‘n roll driven by the instantly recognizable songs of the Black Crowes and hard rocking and stylish band, Dirty Honey opening the set. The midweek, mid-September night felt perfect, with high quality sounds, fans from all generations and a really cool set designed for the Black Crowes show.
First up was Dirty Honey. If you were to describe the band, I would have you imagine your favorite hard rock bands from the late 70s and early 80s all mixed together. But they are a modern outfit that makes you feel like you have travelled back in time. They seemed motivated to impress the fans gathered in the outdoor amphitheater, and I think the crowd reciprocated with the dancing in the seats in aisles and fists pumping to their original hits that can be heard on the radio lately as well as some great covers as well.
Dirty Honey opened up the set with some high energy material with “Gypsy”, which is a fusion of 70s groovy hard rock that you might mistake for a Robert Plant style Zeppelin sounding song, but edgier. Lead singer Marc LaBelle struts on stage like an industry legend and commands the attention of the Boston/Providence area crowd. The guitar work of John Notto is showcased nicely on the second song, “Break You”. The band is also made up of Justin Smolian impressing on the bass and with some of the best hair on the stage (closely followed by the other bandmates), Corey Coverstone on the drum kit.
Other easy to listen to songs included were “No Warning,” followed up by the instantly recognizable Aerosmith epic, “Last Child.” More great stuff ensued including “Tied Up”, “Heartbreaker”, “Down the Road”, “The Wire”, and the great surfer rock of “California Dreamin’.” And of course, the bluesy hard rock of “Another Last Time…” I think we will be seeing a lot more of Dirty Honey in the 2020’s. They are so good! You really have to listen to their work, it is incredibly well crafted music that I envision sipping some bourbon to.
DIRTY HONEY photo gallery
THE BLACK CROWES
Speaking of extremely well-crafted music, the brothers Robinson, their traveling band and a local rock legend entertained us for a great show. Being the 30th anniversary of their legendary Shake Your Money Maker album that was chock full of soulful rock ‘n roll, they actually played the whole thing through must to our excitement.
The set revealed an enchantingly lit bar like scene that really made the atmosphere casual. There was a bar on stage with a dapper bartender doling out drinks. There was a Wurlitzer jukebox anchoring stage right. Soulful backup singers were represented in shimmering black dresses. And the music began with the hit off of “Shake Your Moneymaker”, the first track, “Twice as Hard” with a the dirty bird logo umbrella in hand, Chris Robinson appearing on stage with brother Rich on guitar. Next up was the awesome “Jealous Again” and then “Sister Luck”. The rest of the album continued with the rest of the band including member Sven Pipien on bass, and the touring band made up of additional guitars and keys.
The famous Otis Redding cover “Hard to Handle” had everybody really dancing and moving and the poignant “She Talks to Angels”, But I think the big surprise of the night was when Boston area legendary rocker Peter Wolfe of the J.Giles Band appeared on stage to do “Cry One More Time” and the marching quality of “Looking for a Love.” The almost two hour long set was an incredible display of music that everybody can agree is well crafted, soulful and entertaining.
Wrapping up with Chris Robinson dancing around on stage like Mick Jagger with “It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll”, which seemed appropriate, that was the feeling. Everybody was approachable and music was easy to listen to, and everybody seemed to not take themselves too seriously. It felt good!
The tour continues, if you can catch them perform the classic album that made them famous, you should.
THE BLACK CROWES photo gallery