The CRB tends to generate a special brand of magic everywhere it goes. Multi-night runs, hometown shows, album releases and festival slots all clearly marked on our cosmic calendars in anticipation of the mind, body and soul transition that such events consistently bring. Then there are dates that mark the opening of tour. Our own special “holidaze” whose markings extend across pages and months of our calendars, signifying towns, venues and friends we’ll be lucky enough to spend hours and days with if the stars, vacation time and tickets align. Hours spent together in reflection and groove, lost in the magic that only this band can conjure. Summer Tour finally arrived this week with all the same buzz and excitement that has immersed the CRBeing community since it’s birth. A band and community born of the waves and red poppy hues of that opening 2011 California freak & roll residency. As the band and the fan base continues its annual growth in both size and heart, it’s hard to separate the two in any serious conversation about the CRB, their music and the spiritual connections it facilitates. So much so that now when we see a show date, our thoughts almost instantly turn toward the freak family and friends we’ll surely see at that specific geographic groove. And it’s those bonds, combined with these transcendental troubadours sound that makes the CRB so much bigger than any one single tour or show. With that in heart, let’s take a trip back through this opening week of Summer Tour with our first in this series of weekly tour wrap ups!
The band could’ve hardly found a more fitting and beautiful place to kick off its summer of sound than Quincy, California. “The Heart of the Feather River Country” is truly a jewel of the states Northern territory and was the scene of 4 straight days of music and art. All wrapped within what’s easily one of the premier events of its kind anywhere, the High Sierra Music Festival. The CRB joined bands such as Twiddle, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, String Cheese and Sturgill Simpson in filling up four stages and thousands of heads with pure bliss as each days music stretched well over the 16 hour mark. The Brotherhood helped close the festival and open their tour with a performance well worthy of both prestigious slots. The set (broadcast live locally and online via KVMR, Quincy) started with an absolutely electric, open ended “Rosalee” that fed freely into “Good To Know” and Adam’s edge of the universe electronic echo. With only one set to deliver, the band set the temperature early with tempo topping versions of “Narcissus”, “Vibration” and “Venus In Chrome” before slowing things down with the Big Moon classic “100 Days”. It’s leads drifting, then racing at times like water across a rainy late night windshield. A fiery “Ain’t Hiding” seemed to wrap it all up before a short pause gave way to CR’s rhetorical “is the air getting thinner” line and the band ripped back into “Rosalee”. Allowing the song to sandwich the entire set and bookend the nights boogie!
Proving there is no rest for the weird, the band moved quickly south, down the spine of the state where they would set up the circus for two straight nights in the intimate juke joint setting of Marty’s On Newport. Tustin, which is located in Orange County and within the Los Angeles metropolitan area, must have felt like a throwback to those early L.A. nights woodshedding out of a van. Sculpting songs and it’s own symbols and mythology with every show. With a capacity somewhere between 150 and 200 (depending on your source) it was a packed house and both nights found the band flying as high as ever with an eclectic mix of classics, covers and even the debut of a brand new original.
Monday night opened with a quick footed “Jump The Turnstile” which had everyone moving and loose from the start. Building on the buzz and the energy in the crowd the band never looked back as they roared through the first of four skyrocketing sets to come. “Meanwhile In the Gods” allowed the band to push the boundaries of what even the biggest freaks thought was possible. Gliding from peak to peak before changing time and dropping into its signature funky jam which dissolved, then bubbled to bridge nicely into CR’s organic longing for love “Tumbleweed In Eden”. A monster “Vibration” exploded out of the setbreak with the music matching the songs propulsive lyrics. Clearly setting their horses free to run wild through the sets ebb and flow. From the scorching path of “Burn Slow” to the shamanistic lift-off of the closing “Behold The Seer” jam, the sweat on every smiling face was well earned and enjoyed. The evening ended with the Dead’s “Mr Charlie” making a jubilant appearance in the encore spot after last spacing out our brothers and sisters on the bands recent European tour.
Ever the masters of harnessing momentum, the quintet carried Mondays groove into Tuesday night with ease as the tight packed Tustin crowd moved as one to the mid tempo opening bomp of “Love’s Made A Fool Of You”. Early highlights like the growl of “Someday Past The Sunset” and a spiraling “Blue Star Woman” kept everyone moving as one, in touch and tune with every note sent seeking around the room. History among setlist heads will remember this show for the second set opening, first time played, “Rare Birds”. The unveiling of a new original is always cause to rejoice and this one was an extra special treat! “Rock and Roll”, the Velvet Underground classic came mid-set and was followed by the always emotional “Reflections”. One of the most requested songs at every show is “Train Robbers” and they delivered it late with CR and the band pouring themselves into every cinematic line. The roof almost came off during the “Ride” that followed with Chris asking in his very own cosmic cadence “you wanna R-I-D-E with little ole me?!” Perhaps a nod to the sultry southern like heat in the venue, the encore of “Mississippi You’re On My Mind” sent everyone home satisfied and floating as the crew packed it all up and headed up the coast for more!
San Luis Obispo’s Fremont Theatre is now a regular stop when the band breezes through the Central Coast. This Thursday night get down happened to correspond with the towns street fair like, weekly Farmers Market. Making the scene a festive one both inside the venue out. The Brotherhoods ode to this very kind of California bash, “Leave My Guitar Alone” kept the party vibe intact from the start. Warming up the willing for a first that was Wizard heavy with such showcases as “Clear Blue Sky” and their anthem to the golden state crowd “Sunday Sound”. The first half ended with the big rock and roll rave-up of “Poor Elijah/Robert Johnson” and it was clear the band was now firmly back in tour shape and raring to go! “Rare Birds” kicked off the second set for the second straight show. I can’t wait to watch this one grow as the tour progresses. The first “Down Home Girl” of the summer was the same Dixieland dance off we’ve all come to love and it setup yet another “Rosalee” segue. The crowd danced along with the band through the return of the always welcomed “Rosalee”> “Magic Carpet Ride”> “Rosalee”. “Behold The Seer” proved once again to be an explosive way to close the second set, with its big jam pushing things through the roof and into the night sky. The CRB once again had to cast its spells and leave the town sparkling in a diamond dust. Following its compass back south toward another night of music, this time outside beneath the stars where a clear signal from the mothership would await.
Landers, California was next. Ground zero for a magical night in the Mojave Desert. This outdoor show was the perfect dusty trip for all those who could make it out to get weird and get down. The music helped set the scene with “Someday Past The Sunset” guiding everyone into the evening. The ever expanding “Tulsa” was an early exploratory trip and surfaced in the gospel groove of “California Hymn”. Spreading the news and the wings of the set. The band continued its tour trend of working further into its catalog with each consecutive show. With Dylan’s “Crash On The Levee” and Leon Russell’s “7 Nights To Rock” both making season debuts in the nights opening set. The pairing of “Narcissus” and “Ain’t Hiding” helped set the revolution in motion and provided a steady beat at the heart of the second set. And the suite of “Blonde Light” and “Glow” continues to be a platform for the bands instrumental subtleties to shine. Another blistering, second set closing “Behold The Seer” must have had all intergalactic communications flowing freely and the Garcia Band-esque “After Midnight” wrapped up an absolutely stone cold desert groove of a show.
The 360 mile ride east into Flagstaff for Saturday nights show started with early morning bus trouble which caused some adjustments in the days schedule. But once the band took the stage at the Orpheum Theater, everything was right on time as they rode their new “New Cannonball” right into town! A first set with a whole lot of bounce seemed to center around “Wheel Don’t Roll”. Perhaps another nod to the mechanical obstacles from earlier in the day. The scenes within “Train Robbers” all played clearly through the theater and no motor was needed as “Rosalee” reminded everyone it was “all downhill to the beach from here.” When you get a Saturday night “Vibration/Light” it’s always best to buckle up and hang on. Here, they opened the second set with the biggest one of the tour so far. The set seemed to build around the swelling “Meanwhile” > “Tumbleweed” but nothing could have prepared us for the almost stoner doom “Tough Mama” jam into “Ride”. For the second time this tour the band tipped their hats to their Bay Area forefathers in the encore spot. This time with their masterful take on “They Love Each Other”. A swaying sing along and wave goodbye as the band heads into Colorado before venturing further east, waving its freak flag all along the way.
To be continued….✌️🤩✌️