The Magpie Salute takes flight as they make their eagerly anticipated North East debut at the Riverside in Newcastle.

With three competing rock shows in Newcastle this evening, the packed out crowd at the Riverside Newcastle proves that this show, in particular, is the hot ticket in town tonight.

Resurrected out of the embers of The Black Crowes, Rich Robinson formed The Magpie Salute alongside former bandmates guitarist Marc Ford and bassist Sven Pipien.

Likewise, the roots of Robinson’s illustrious career run deep throughout his latest band. Of course, John Hogg shared Hookah Brown with Robinson. Likewise, keyboardist Matt Slocum and drummer Joe Magistro each, in turn, collaborated with the Crowes axe man throughout his solo career.

The beauty of a Magpie Salute show is that you never know what you are going to get. The group chooses to switch out the majority of their setlist every night making each show a unique experience in itself. This is made possible through the sheer talent and creativity that comes from within the group. The band challenges themselves constantly in order to keep things fresh and interesting for both the band and their audience alike.

Earlier this year The Magpie Salute released one of the stand out albums of 2018 in the shape of their first full-length studio record High Level I. This release followed hot on the footsteps of the group’s initial live album which chronicled their now seminal Woodstock performance.

The smell of burning incense fills the room as the band hits the Riverside Newcastle stage. The six-piece outfit waste no time at all in showcasing their latest offering with the first four tracks of the set taken from the release. This includes a phenomenal jammed-out rendition of the title track itself, the classic rock masterpiece that is “Take It All” along with both “For The Wind” and “Open Up”. 

What makes this show even more interesting is the choice of covers which they include in their set. Of course, the group has a timeless sound, which is rooted in an era where music was authentic, true and honest. So covers of songs by the likes of Pink Floyd by way of “Fearless” and an incredible rendition of “Big Time” by Neil Young and Crazyhorse, certainly fit the mood and the tone of the show.

However, one of the most beautiful parts of the evening is the band’s three-song acoustic set. With just Hogg, Robinson and Ford remaining onstage whilst congregated around a single microphone stand the trio takes the crowd through a harmonious rendition of Crosby, Stills and Nash’s ”You Don’t Have To Cry”, the beautiful “Sister Moon” from High Water I along with the first Black Crowes number of the evening “Lay It All On Me”.

There is also room for a couple of tracks from the band’s own respective solo projects including both Marc Ford’s groove-heavy number “I’m Free” and Robinson’s “I Don’t Hear The Sound of You”. The latter of which features some beautiful vocal harmonies, along with a trippy jazz-tinged keyboard solo from Slocum.

Tonight the magical slide-fuelled interplay between Robinson and Ford, sees one of the rock music’s great guitar partnerships rekindled once again. The pair plays off each other effortlessly all night long.

Having such a strong album as High Water I the group chooses to showcase the lion’s share of their latest release with eight of the twelve songs on the record featuring tonight. One of the many highlights from the album is “Mary The Gypsy”. With its thunderous rhythm, crunchy guitar riffs and catchy hooks, the track has that vintage classic rock swagger associated with bands like The Stones and The Faces.

From here on in it’s all about The Black Crowes with three mesmerising numbers from Robinson et al’s former outfit. An extended jammed out performance of “Been A Long Time (Waiting On Love)” and a crowd-pleasing airing of the classic “My Morning Song” from The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion brings the band into the final throws of their musical marathon.

However, rather than doing the whole false exit, and with an impending curfew due to a post-show disco, the band plays straight through and close out their set with “Send Me An Omen”, which in turn brings the show full circle. This being a track which has all of the traits of a classic Crowes song in itself and could quite easily sit on an album like Amorica, but actually derives from the band’s latest release.

Tonight The Magpie Salute proves that they aren’t just a flash in the pan project, the band has 2019 mapped out with the second chapter of High Water already wrapped up for an impending summer release. Tonight the band delivers one of the best live shows we’ve witnessed on Tyneside this year, to witness this band play live is nothing short of a joyous experience.

Magpie Salute
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Event Date: 07-Dec-2018

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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