It was a gratifying weekend for the Rossington Collins Band. On Friday their frist album reached the gold plateau in sales, and Saturday night they were greeted by a roaring crowd at Merriweather Post Pavilion, which cheered almost as loudly as the band played.

Before their arrival, though, the Henry Paul Band performed a thunderous set of Southern rock and boogie. Any band that packs four guitars, two sets of drums and a piano has little use for the subtler things in life. Their music pounded away with jackhammer intensity and the lyrics -- when intelligible -- ran the gamut from drinking and raising hell to, well, drinking and raising hell.

To their credit, the Rossington Collins Band isn't living off the legacy of Lynyrd Skynyrd, even though the septet includes four members originally with that ill-fated band. Their sound derives much of its powr from Dale Krantz, a formidable female rocker with a gritty R&B voice. At times her delivery is overly mannered (she sounds like she mimicking Tina Turner when she speaks), but her voice is strong, competent and occasionally convincing.

As expected, the band's high-flying instrumental version of "Free Bird" -- their tribute to Ronnie Dan Zant -- set off a sonic blast of applause during the encore.