At the height of the grunge era, when Nirvana was king, Adam Duritz's iconic dreadlocks and his band's distinctive style burst onto the American rock scene. The hobo look is there, but what they want to do is Americana. Good old-fashioned rock that doesn't shy away from catchy, nostalgic melodies to accompany us on the endless roads of the American West.
Alongside the likes of Oasis, Bruce Springsteen and U2, their music takes us on a long journey of new sounds and borrowings from the great rock masters of the '70s, from Van Morrison to The Band, the latter of whom helped them launch their career. As for the distinctive diction of this mad hatter of a singer, it's all down to his unwavering passion for Bob Dylan.
Far from being one-song men, and even if their Mr Jones remains the only song regularly played by the big French radio stations, their career draws on solid roots, and they go on to record success after success on both sides of the Atlantic. As a charismatic leader, Adam Duritz's voice is compelling, fascinating and powerful. Add to this his intensity and charisma on stage, and you have a true performer, ready to ignite the crowds from the very first guitar riff, from the very first drum beat struck by the band.
And while Counting Crows may have lost a few seasoned musicians in the process, the band never ceases to reinvent itself. The ardour of their (almost) bygone youth still shines through in their lyrics, as their American-style rock becomes, according to some critics, "daron rock". Darons, perhaps, but darons who know how to bang like in the good old days!
After the line-up changes inherent in all early rock bands, Counting Crows stabilized in 1993 around Duritz on vocals, Bryson on guitar, Malley on bass, Gillingham on keyboards, and Bowman on drums. Already spotted on the live scene, they released their debut album, August and Everything After, the same year. Legend has it that Duritz was singing Mr Jones as a joke, imagining it would become popular when the video started airing on MTV. From then on, success was colossal, making their debut the fastest-selling album since Nirvana's Nevermind. In the immediate aftermath, they toured alongside the Rolling Stones and became one of the new heavyweights of American rock, no less!
Although less well known on this side of the Atlantic, Counting Crows' success has never waned in the USA. In 2002, their debut album was ranked 75th among the 100 best albums of all time by the readers of Rolling Stone magazine. Yes, right between Marvin Gaye and the Sex Pistols! In 2004, the band scored another major hit with the excellent Accidentally in Love on the soundtrack to Shrek 2, while at the same time reconnecting with their European audience.
Their last album, Somewhere Under Wonderland, was released in 2014, and it had been seven years since fans had had anything to sink their teeth into. But it seems that, as for many, the pandemic gave Adam Duritz and his band a creative boost, and they returned to writing and the studio to bring us Butter Miracle Suite One, which was logically followed by a second opus. The following year, Counting Crows made a notable appearance at the Folies Bergère. The dreads, brandished like a banner for almost 30 years, had disappeared, but above all, their insane energy once again swept everything in its path!
The masterful Adam Duritz, found without his famous dreadlocks, and his faithful acolytes put on a great show tonight. A crystalline sound that captivates the audience for just over two and a half hours, and hits that we can't get enough of singing along to. We'd really like to see them perform more often in our beautiful country!
With their singular approach to alternative rock, it's a shame that Counting Crows don't make more of an appearance on French stages. Their appearances in Paris are always a great moment of communion with their fans, with the energy of their charismatic leader and their Americana-scented songs always winning over an already-conquered audience. An all-too-rare band, not to be missed when they play live!
After dominating sales in the early 90s with the album August and everything after and the essential Mr Jones, Counting Crows didn't rest on their laurels [...]. Quite the contrary, in fact. In the U.S., the band proved to be a consistent performer, touring and releasing albums for over a decade. Gradually abandoning the alternative sound they were known for, Counting Crows have since moved closer and closer to a classic rock daron, and this turnaround seems to have worked out rather well for them.