Robert Plant and the Band of Joy – Stubb’s, TX

Reviving some tunes from Raising Sand, his 2007 album with Alison Krauss as well as some Zeppelin tunes, Robert Plant has his new Band of Joy on the road giving fans a chance to preview their upcoming record.

With Patty Griffin taking harmony (and sometimes lead) vocals, along with a return of Buddy Miller on lead guitars, Marco Giovino, Darrell Scott and Byron House make up the newly revived “Band of Joy.”

After a short set from Bettye LaVette which featured mostly tunes from her latest, Interpretations—a collection of British Invasion songs (translated: several Beatles covers with some The Who and The Animals’ version of “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.”) Her her amazing voice and captivating energy allowed her to pull off all the covers without sounding phony.

Once the Band of Joy took the stage it was clear that Robert Plant was in top form, as was the rest of the band. Several times throughout the evening, Robert stepped out of the spotlight, graciously sharing his front-man status with both Buddy (“Somewhere Trouble Don’t Go”) and Darrell (“A Satisfied Mind.”)

As the leading lady, Patty performed songs from her recent release, Downtown Church like “Wade in the Water” (in a medley with “Twelve Gates to the City” and “Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down”) and “Move Up,” mixing up the rock ‘n’ roll with some gospel. And their closing song “And We Bid You Goodnight” was a beautiful cap to the set.

Even with her solo songs (with Robert on harmonica), it’d be too easy to write Patty off as an Alison replacement as she sang many of the same parts and has that same Americana-flavor and fan base. Instead, the similar tonal quality of her voice to Robert’s sometimes took away from the Rising Sand material (“Rich Woman,” “Please Read the Letter,” “Gone, Gone, Gone”) or maybe it’s just that it was difficult to differentiate the parts, too much blending instead of harmonizing.

Either way, there were enough songs with which they hit home runs. “Tangerine,” “Over the Hills and Far Away” and “In The Mood (For A Melody)” were clearly fan favorites, as were the encores of “Rock ‘n’ Roll,” and “Thank You.” And the new songs, like “Monkey,” make the Band of Joy record (out in September) a promising treat.

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Photos by Nichole Wagner

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