For all you honkies and know-it-alls who dismiss The Black Crowes, this band has been at it long enough that the music it reference is really its own. The bloodline can be easily traced back to arenas full of Zeppelins and Stones, but Crowes fly in there too, baby. And it boils down to tone. Last Friday night 1,800 fans got to witness these masters of tone rock the Armory. Singer Chris Robinson is the most soul a guy can possibly sound without actually being a black soul singer. And brother Rich saddles up vintage tube tonk and lets it gallop with a roar. So that's the vibe: part wild beast, part muscle car, a solid rush. The sound, however, is another thing. Rock 'n' roll has got to be loud, no question about it. But it seems lately all the shows I've gone to forsake clarity for volume. Most of the tunes the band did were pretty muddy and hard to make out unless you already knew them. That and the fact that the band still seems a little more poncho than motorcycle jacket left me itchin' for more.
Geneva's hip-hop homeboys The Gym Class Heroes blew into town Monday night to rock the Auditorium Theatre with The All-American Rejects. The boys rocked the stage and the sold-out crowd was on its feet. They hipped and hopped a little more than they do on vinyl but the rock still reared its head. GCH's songs are relatively uncluttered so you could still pick out what was going on despite the volume-induced confusion. The All-American Rejects, despite being fairly clever pop songsters, sounded like shit. It was an indiscernible wall of noise. Kids who knew the songs lapped it up the best they could, but it was a deafening mess. Loud's no good if you can't dig the message. Kinda like screaming with your mouth full.