The Black Crowes ‘Happiness Bastards’ Tour kicks off in style at the Manchester Apollo in Manchester, UK on May 14, 2024






The Black Crowes ‘Happiness Bastards’ Tour kicks off in style at the Manchester Apollo


The Jim Jones All Stars are tonight’s support act and do more than a fine job warming up the crowd. Jones is a great frontman, who has a mesmerising stage presence and a voice to match. The eight musicians on stage all shine though, as this blistering twenty-five-minute set flies by. By barely pausing for breath between each song, they rattle through eight songs, mainly covers but some of their own material such as ‘Gimme The Grease’ and ‘Lover’s Prayer’.



Opening up with two songs (Bedside Manners and Rats and Clowns) from their Happiness Bastards album – their first new studio album in fifteen years – The Black Crowes take to the stage to a huge ovation from the crowd. Brothers Chris and Rich Robinson are the only original members left and take centre stage tonight.

Chris asks “How about we rock and roll a little bit?” It sets the tone for the evening, as we are treated to an absolute masterclass by the rock veterans.

“We’re so happy we have new material to play for you tonight…but don’t worry, we have some old mother fuckers too!” Chris says before huge cheers erupt as the opening riff of Twice As Hard kicks in.

The grand carnival stage set-up is befitting of this beautiful, historic venue. Set over two levels, the bright and vibrant lighting is as aesthetically pleasing as the sound. Chris frequently checks himself in the giant mirror that is behind him, I wouldn’t possibly accuse a rock star of being egotistical but he certainly seems to enjoy this aspect of the stage setup! A magnetising presence on stage, at 57 years old showing no signs of slowing down, channelling his inner Mick Jagger as he struts around the stage.

Cross Your Fingers suffers a false start, as Rich Robinson has to retune his guitar. Luckily, the famously feuding brothers don’t fall out but Rich seems to take great delight in the episode as he quips “imagine coming all the way to Manchester for that! It sounds fucking terrible” It’s a good job they are Happiness Bastards these days, and we don’t see an onstage meltdown. This city knows all too well about rockstar brothers who don’t get along!



Wilted Rose offers a nice change of pace, as this beautiful ballad shows off Chris’ vocal range. A cover of Jerry Lee Lewis’s High School Confidential is dedicated to The Jim Jones All Stars, this raucous rock’n’roll track is certainly a fitting tribute to tonight’s opening act.

“Here’s one you know” Chris teases before their famous cover of Otis Reading’s Hard To Handle kicks in. This is followed by a stunning acoustic rendition of She Talks to Angels.

Dirty Cold Sun is the last new track played and fits in perfectly amongst the run of hits as the show draws to a close. Happiness Bastards shows they haven’t forgotten who they used to be, they haven’t tried to reinvent the wheel, and why should they when they are this good at what they do?

Sting Me, Jealous Again and Remedy have the entire venue rocking as this classy performance comes to a temporary end. The obligatory calls for an encore are answered, as we are treated to Elmore James’ Shake Your Money Maker and the fans who have packed into the Apollo tonight are sent home happy. Happy Bastards, you might say.



1/ Bedside Manners

2/ Rats and Clowns

3/ Twice as Hard

4/ Gone

5/ Under a Mountain

6/ Cross Your Fingers

7/ Wilted Rose

8/ High School Confidential
(Jerry Lee Lewis cover)

9/ Thorn in My Pride

10/ Wanting and Waiting

11/ Hard to Handle
(Otis Redding cover)

12/ She Talks to Angels

13/ Dirty Cold Sun

14/ Sting Me

15/ Jealous Again

16/ Remedy


Shake Your Moneymaker
(Elmore James cover)