Chelsea is upstanding for the Magpie Salute.

Stranger things have happened than a stalwart Millwall supporter walking into enemy territory like Chelsea Football club but I brace myself for this unexpected and special occasion. Armed only with a pen and paper and a French photographer, I storm into Under The Bridge.

What a venue, seriously, I’m greeted by Chris Dean of the amazing Wilful Publicity who has put this gig on and grab a pint. I’m here to witness a new band formed from the ashes of the Black Crowes, brother Rich Robinson has put together this new supergroup with Hookah Brown frontman John Hogg on vocal duty and former Black Crowes BV singers Adrien Reju and Katrine Ottenson. This nonet is here for a four-night foray into new and old sounds. The magic is already present and as palpable as a Black Crowe or a certain Magpie.

This modern yet old school feeling venue, with a stage close enough for pheromones to osmosis between band and audience, is filled with a heady mix of Black Crowes original followers and the new blood that every band needs.

This exciting nine-piece band launches straight into some slow, sleazy jack riff blues. They’re here for four nights, every set is going to be different but this is the first and it’s electric.

Heavy on the old school and let’s face it why the hell not, “Sting Me”, “My Morning Song” and “Sometimes Salvation” power through the venue.

With the treat of an extra three piece harmony section in vocals, an effortless blend of guitars, a soaring bass line follows a thumping locomotive of a drumline and the Magpie’s are giving the fans great birdsong.

Slow, low and filthy, positive vibes are flowing from both sides of the stage, fists pump, heads nod and this band are taking control with their sparkly guitars and skinny jeans.

“Stand Up” roars out and it’s like a Champions League goal has been scored, it’s now standing room only as The Magpie Salute take us through another batch of solid rhythm and blues, not perhaps what we’re expecting but it’s happening, jazz, blues, and funk, the sweaty smiles on both sides of the stage say it all.

Sliding into a Small Faces cover and reaffirming the respect and positive attitude of this gig brings home what they’re doing.

Rampant soul-searching blues reverberates around the room, the vibe continues with laid back drums and bass holding this stoney blues trip together, guitars soar, vocals take us to another level and we’re brought to a certain special place few bands can manage.

Ethereal is the only word I can think of, as even the man mountain of a security guard is getting his groove on, hypnotic and transcending blues, reggae, psychedelia with a sharp-edged groove with a big helping of Redneck stomp, the pure honesty of this re-invented band shines through, a surprisingly cool, mellow yet groovy night was had by all.

As the gig ends, we are all left open mouthed and wanting more.

There may not be too many Black Crowes flying these days but the Magpie’s can surely take the Salute.

Words by Philip Welford
Photos by Eric Duvet

The Magpie Salute
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Under The Bridge
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Event Date: 12-APR-2017