Sound: Regardless of what record sales or radio airplay has presented for The Black Crowes, the Atlanta natives still make believers of most people when their live show is added into the equation. March 2008's Warpaint remained under the radar for the most part (although receiving more accolades than the previous CD Lions), but it's chock-full of the Southern blues vibe that made the band so likable and accessible in the first place. The sterile atmosphere of a studio can only do so much, however, and that's why the live concert recording of Warpaint is more of an essential purchase for fans. The double CD of Warpaint Live was released back in April, but seeing the always-entertaining Chris Robinson via DVD is always a bonus.
Recorded at Los Angeles' Wiltern Theater in March 20, 2008, Warpaint Live features beautiful footage (with a Blu-ray option available) and flawless audio quality. It's always a relief to have that aspect covered because the show can become the primary focus and not the shoddy editing (which isn't a problem in this case). While the energy isn't quite what it once was in The Black Crowes, the musicianship is still very much present. Performing the Warpaint album in full, as well as 6 other tracks that are B-sides and covers, the band has never sounded better. They manage to take songs like Evergreen and Goodbye Daughters of the Revolution which were solid to begin with and transform them into something more captivating. The jam band feel is ever-present, with the slide work of Luther Dickson always the centerpiece.
Even the slower tracks like Locust Street and Bad Luck Blue Eyes Goodbye, which are fairly low-key as their original studio versions, come to life. Chris Robinson should be thanked in this department, as the frontman's charisma and vocal strength have not decreased in the slightest. If you're a fan of the band's earlier material, namely the era of Jealous Again or She Talks To Angels, you might be disheartened to know that the primary focus of the DVD is the Warpaint CD. That being said, you still get the general Black Crowes experience, which is rarely disappointing. // 9
Overall Impression: If we lived back in the days when MTV still played music videos, selections from Warpaint Live would have undoubtedly been put in regular rotation. Just as they did 20 years ago, The Black Crowes have a retro/1960's vibe that puts you in a time warp. From the incense burning onstage to free-flowing wardrobe to the rootsy style, the band is one of a kind in this day and age. The material played during Warpaint Live might not be as easy to connect with (if only because it didn't get as much airplay as, say, the first two records), but it's still highly entertaining. In many ways Chris Robinson comes across as a fiery preacher onstage, and that's the kind of passion that will hopefully never disappear from a Black Crowes' show. // 8