Live Review: Rich Robinson in London

A mixed bag from the from the former Black Crowes guitarist.

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Can there really be too much of a good thing? As evidenced by tonight’s performance by erstwhile Black Crowe Rich Robinson, the answer falls in the affirmative.

This is not to damn Robinson. Throughout this epic solo set, Robinson is in fine voice while his mastery of his instrument, here employing a variety of open tunings and switching from acoustic to electric guitars with a consummate ease, is characterised by a rich and robust timbre that fills the venue a veritable feast for the ears. Yet as the show goes on Robinson’s initial quip of, “I don’t have a band. I left them somewhere!” simply raises the desire that he hadn’t.

Simply put, an extended solo performance would work better in the environs of a summer festival rather than the early onset of autumn. And while there’s much here to enjoy – readings of I Remember and Answers are beguiling – the set is also overly reliant on cover versions. While the traditional Blackwaterside is magnificent, The Velvet Underground’s Oh! Sweet Nuthin’ misses the mark.

With the absence of a band – and Robinson looping himself to bolster his lead breaks – it’s difficult to shake the feeling that this is a missed opportunity.

Julian Marszalek is the former Reviews Editor of The Blues Magazine. He has written about music for Music365, Yahoo! Music, The Quietus, The Guardian, NME and Shindig! among many others. As the Deputy Online News Editor at Xfm he revealed exclusively that Nick Cave’s second novel was on the way. During his two-decade career, he’s interviewed the likes of Keith Richards, Jimmy Page and Ozzy Osbourne, and has been ranted at by John Lydon. He’s also in the select group of music journalists to have actually got on with Lou Reed. Marszalek taught music journalism at Middlesex University and co-ran the genre-fluid Stow Festival in Walthamstow for six years.