Summer sounds sweet with The Black Crowes shaking their money makers at Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort with the Stone Temple Pilots and Mac Saturn.
The Black Crowes at Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort
We wasted no time back in February securing our tickets to see The Black Crowes this July at Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort. We sprung for the VIP tickets to witness up close the band’s latest run through the states playing their debut album Shake Your Money Maker in its entirety along with a treasure trove of their music.
In June, we found out that Stone Temple Pilots were joining the fun. We caught them last year at Arts, Beats, and Eats in Royal Oak, and they were phenomenal. The combination of these two great bands on one night had us giddy. Then just a few weeks prior, we learned that Detroit’s own Mac Saturn would be opening up. The night keeps getting better, and we haven’t heard a note.
In addition to primo seats near the stage, the VIP gig included some Black Crowes swag and a photo with Rich and Chris Robinson. We gathered with a few dozen other diehard fans well before the doors opened outside a ballroom at the casino for our photos. Due to the ongoing pandemic, we couldn’t squeeze the shit out of the Robinson brothers, but we had a moment to say hello. Chris mentioned that I look like their tour manager’s dad, except I don’t have a pentagram tattooed on the back of my neck. I’m guessing my doppelganger doesn’t have a Dark Horse Brewing tattoo on his leg.
While our meeting with the heart of the Black Crowes was brief, it was fun. The whole experience, including the concert itself, was made much better by Soaring Eagle’s staff. Everyone we met was super helpful and friendly. I’d been a little concerned I would get shit for carrying my camera around, but there was no hassle. The Black Crowes crew and their PR at Rogers & Cowan PMK were also fantastic.
The latest rock band buzzing from Detroit is Mac Saturn. I’d seen their drummer Angelo Coppola when he was the lead singer for The Lows and knew he was a top-notch musician, so my interest peaked. Mac Saturn is Angelo (drums), Nick Barone (guitar), Jive Moses (bass), Mike Moody (guitar), Evan Mercer (keyboards), and Carson Macc (lead vocals).
If you like the Some Girls era of The Rolling Stones, then you will definitely dig the retro rock glistening with R&B and disco vibes of Mac Saturn. Carson Macc is not only a vocalist; he is a performer. Dressed in red leather pants, he worked up a sweat moving and grooving to the band’s sultry music. The pulsing heart of the band lives in Angelo and Jive with a beat designed to make you move. Guitarists Nick and Mike, along with Evan on keys, work the melodies and harmonies like butter on a biscuit. Mike adds a bit more spice to the Mac Saturn mix with some tasty licks. Watch out, Stones, as Mac Saturn has got your number. If you missed them on this gig, they are heading on the road with Dirty Honey this fall.
Stone Temple Pilots
Every time I see the Stone Temple Pilots, it is phenomenal and tonight’s gig is no exception. With the sun heading toward the horizon, the band was decked out in rockstar shades to give us an hour of rock. We stood and sang as STP nailed every single hit from “Wicked Garden,” to “Down,” to “Interstate Love Song,” to “Trippin’ on a Hole,” to “Plush,” and more.
Dean (guitar) and Robert DeLeo (bass) with Eric Kretz (drums) make this magical music come alive. They play with passion and joy, in fact, that joy is written on their faces. Jeff Gutt is the perfect frontman for the reinvigorated Pilots. Showing some Michigan love with his Lions t-shirt, his vocals along with stage presence dials the excitement of their performance to eleven.
While the focus is clearly on giving fans the beloved songs from the Stone Temple Pilot catalog, it is refreshing when they play the single “Meadow” from their self-titled album recorded with Jeff in 2018. This catchy tune fits perfectly with the band’s prior music and hints at the greatness yet to come.
One fun side story Jeff shared related to Angelo from Mac Saturn. Apparently, back when Jeff was in a cover band in Michigan, Angelo played drums in a band that opened up for Jeff’s band at some ridiculously young age. Clearly, the circle of life in music keeps turning.
The Black Crowes
The Black Crowes’ performance at Soaring Eagle Casino was like witnessing a gospel revival. The energy of the music made standing still impossible. You had to move. You had to shout. You had to jump with joy in this baptism of soulful rock music.
I had the pleasure of catching the Black Crowes last year at Pine Knob for Loud Hailer Magazine at the start of their Shake Your Money Maker celebration tour in 2021. As of 2021, the Black Crowes consists of founding brothers Chris (vocals) and Rich Robinson (guitar) with Sven Pipien (bass), Joel Robinow (keyboards), Brian Griffin (drums), Isaiah Mitchell (guitar), and singers Mackenzie Adams and Leslie Grant.
The first part of the show centered on the Black Crowes’ debut album. While the post-pandemic elation to be able to enjoy live music again added to the glow of the 2021 show, I’d say the energy on the stage and in the crowd tonight exceeded the Pine Knob gig. It could be the year on the road has made the band that much tighter, or we are all still so damn happy to share the gift of music together. Regardless of the source, tonight’s gig was special.
Reliving the Revival
The entire first half of the set was spectacular, but a few tunes were gems. The sorrowful melody of “Sister Luck” shot through me with hair-raising brilliance. My body couldn’t resist the boogie stomp when the Crowes kicked into their cover of “Hard To Handle” by Otis Redding. The emotive and beautiful sadness of “She Talks To Angels” was thrilling.
After wrapping up Shake Your Money Maker with the swampy swing of “Stare It Cold,” the Black Crowes jammed some sweet cuts from the rest of their catalog. “No Speak No Slave” hit big and burly with the wailing guitars of Rich and Isaiah. “Sometimes Salvation” resonated with brilliant rhythm from Sven and Brian along with the magical blues shouting and hand of God vocals of brother Chris. One of my favorite Black Crowes tunes is “Wiser Times.” I was in heaven as I drifted to the wandering western swing. Joel’s sublime playing on the keys with a screaming solo by Isaiah made this a treat.
The Black Crowes closed out their regular set with the crowd favorite “Remedy” before heading off stage. Thankfully we didn’t have to wait long for them to return. They wrapped up the night with their killer cover of “Rocks Off” by the Rolling Stones. This was a great way to end the night as this tune is the lead track on the Black Crowes’ outstanding EP of covers called 1972, where they pay homage to some of the music they love.
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