The Black Crowes: Warpaint Live

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Though it is totally without frills or DVD bonuses, Warpaint Live represents a fine document of the Black Crowes’ progression since their reformation in 2005. Like its double CD counterpart, the DVD version includes all the material on Warpaint, their first studio effort in seven years as well as cover material that accurately reflect their roots.

In elevating the Crowes’ performance at Los Angeles’ Wiltern Theatre, Luther Dickinson is the key to this re configured chemistry (though keyboardist Adam McDougal is prominently heard on “Goodbye Daughters of the Revolution,” among others). The North Mississippi Allstars guitarist lends more than even his versatile skill with his instrument: the band pivots around him as his innate sense of keeping in sync with his co-musicians maintains The Crowes center of gravity on the stage.

Within the running order identical to the studio set, “Wee Who See the Deep” is no less potent than the gospel of “God’s Got It.”
The latter in turn renders the first of the covers, Delaney and Bonnie’s "Poor Elijah/Tribute to Johnson (medley)," an even more honest homage to the modern fusion of rock and gospel. “Don’t Know Why,” from the Eric Clapton album Bartlett produced furthers that feel, while Rolling Stones’ "Torn and Frayed” is nouveau honky-tonk that reaffirms the country influence in the Crowes’ original material such as “There’s Gold in Them Hills.”

Camera work and editing throughout Warpaint Live emphasizes the momentum of the music and may actually be most effective on this exultant rendition of Moby Grape’s "Hey Grandma:" a terrific show-closer, it functions simultaneously as a tribute to a great unsung group, as well as a showcase for a band once again playing at full power.

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