Bird’s eye view of The Magpie Salute is intimate in Reno

Tahoe Onstage

The Magpie Salute debuts in the Cargo Concert Hall in Reno on a Sunday night, Jan. 13.
Tahoe Onstage photos by Michael Smyth

Call it the Biggest Little Concert in the World.

About a hundred people in Reno witnessed a stellar performance by The Magpie Salute, which includes former Black Crowes Rich Robinson, Marc Ford and Sven Pipien, at the Cargo Concert Hall.

In August, The Magpie Salute released a rock album for the ages, “High Water I.” Nevertheless, it was just the band’s first studio album and a follow up to an eponymous live debut. Despite an all-star lineup it’s still a new band and it was, a woman at the merch table shrugged, “a Sunday night in Reno.”

British frontman John Hogg, keyboardist Matt Slocum, and drummer Joe Magistro and the old Crowes entered the stage and rocked as if the venue was filled at its capacity 1,000.

It was a thrill to see the dual guitarists — Robinson, with his Fender Strat, and Ford with the Gretch White Falcon — together again, ripping away from the get-go with “High Water I.” With such a crowd, there was room to dance — and talk about a bird’s eye view!

“Omission,” the only original from the live album, followed. Later, there were a pair of covers of Faces, a major influence for Rich Robinson and his brother, Chris, when they were fledgling musicians. Singing songs by the “Do you think I’m sexy” guy with Hogg’s authentic British accent added to their plumage.

Three songs were acoustic, with Robinson, Ford on guitars, and Hogg on guitar or tambourine. Having a small, respectfully quiet audience, was fortuitously conducive. Robinson’s voice was magnificent, and the song “Oh Josephine,” from 2008’s “Warpaint,” was the obvious highlight of the evening.

Toward the end, Hogg wrapped up “Been a Long Time Waiting on Love” with a thank-you, and for a moment it felt like the band was going to call it a night.

“We don’t know what the fuck happened here tonight,” Hogg said, looking across the spacious venue, then smiling, “We are now into the encore.”

Rousing renditions of “Black Moon Creepin’ ” and “Send Me An Omen” concluded a singularly intimate show by a great rock ‘n’ roll band.

Superstition has it that when coming across a magpie, it needs to be acknowledged – or given a salute – otherwise bad luck will occur. Hopefully, the appreciative concertgoers did enough of just that and The Magpie Salute will fly this way again.

— Tim Parsons

Related story: Rich Robinson paints his story. A Q&A.

  • The Magpie Salute
    Jan. 13, 2019
    Cargo Concert Hall, Reno
    1 – High Water
    2 – Omission
    3 – Take It All
    4 – For The Wind
    5 – Every Picture Tells a Story
    6 –  I Know I’m Losing You
    7 – Yesterday I Saw You
    8 – Sister Moon (acoustic)
    9 – Glad and Sorry (acoustic)
    10 –  Oh Josephine (acoustic with electric finish)
    11 – Mary The Gypsy
    12 – Can you See
    13 – Rollin’ Over
    14 – Another Roadhouse Tragedy
    15 – Been a Long Time Waiting on Love
    16 – Black Moon Creepin’
    17 – Send Me An Omen
  • The Stone Foxes
    1 — Animal
    2 — Everybody Knows
    3 — Death of Me
    4 — Forget About Me
    5 — Cotto
    6 — I Know Who You Are
    7 — Cold Like a Killer S
    8 — Stomp
    9 — Mr Hangman
  • Tahoe Onstage

    Up close in Reno, it’s Rich Robinson and his Stratocaster.
    Michael Smyth / Tahoe Onstage

    Michael Smith / Tahoe Onstage

    The old Crowe Marc Ford sparkled throughout the night.

    Michael Smyth / Tahoe Onstage

    Frontman John Hogg previously played with Robinson in 2003 with Brown Hookah.

    Tahoe Ontage

    The Stone Foxes were headliners the last time they played in the Cargo Concert Hall. On Sunday, however, the San Francisco rock group was humbled to share the stage with The Magpie Salute. The band, which has four-part harmonies, played a tight, rocking nine song, 42 minute set. The highlight was their song “Cold Like a Killer,” which featured haunting violin and guitar by Ben Andrews.
    Michael Smyth / Tahoe Onstage

About Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

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