No Phish, no Allman Brothers, no Bob or Phil, no My Morning Jacket. It's been a quiet summer here for the jam-band scene.
It got pretty loud last night with the arrival of Southern brethren the Black Crowes and Tedeschi Trucks Band, drawing an older, hard-partying crowd to Stage AE.
After a rainy start, Tedeschi Trucks pushed away the clouds with a set drenched in blues, soul, funk and jazz.
The talented husband-and-wife team of Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks travel heavy with nine other musicians who all get their moments to shine. That's a lot to spread around when you have a singer as strong as she is and a guitarist who's ranked among the best of all time.
It's not the most focused 90 minutes of music and they don't yet have a set of iconic songs, but when Mr. Trucks lets loose the TTB is a force. In the biggest jams, he faced off with saxophonist Kebbi Williams for a squonking solo on "Nobody's Free" and traded heavy licks with his wife on the closing jam.
She loves to belt out the vocals Joplin style but also got sultry on "Midnight in Harlem" and "Misunderstood," a song from the forthcoming album.
"All right, all right, let's get into some Wednesday night rock 'n' roll," Chris Robinson said, before the Black Crowes launched into "Jealous Again" on a stage saturated with red. It's hard to say how their Wednesday rock 'n' roll compares to their Saturday rock 'n' roll, but the Crowes did seem a little slower and bluesier in the first hour with songs like the Zeppelin-y "How Much for Your Wings?" and "Wiser Time."
This latest incarnation has solo artist Jackie Greene stepping into a guitar shredder role alongside Rich Robinson for long, Allman/Dead-inspired jams. The average song length was running about 10 minutes, giving Chris lots of extra time for dancing and shaking. Of course, he sounded great when he stepped to the mic for "Soul Singing" or "Thick N' Thin."
The second hour, naturally, was more the crowd-pleasing party as the Crowes went on an incredible (and rare, based on recent set lists) run of faves with "She Talks to Angels." "Thorn in My Pride" (with Chris going off on harmonica), "Remedy" and "Hard to Handle." With things revving up, they ventured into a rugged cover of "Hush," the Billy Joe Royal song made famous by Deep Purple.
The encore was a show-stopping jam with Tedeschi and Trucks coming back out for Joe Tex's "Show Me" and a cover of Bobby Bland's "Turn on Your Lovelight" that grooved like mad. It was a rushed finish, but in a show that had its slow points, people surely left on a high.
Scott Mervis: email@example.com; 412-263-2576. First Published August 8, 2013 3:30 AM