The Rossington-Collins Band contains four survivors of Lynyrd Skynyrd, which ended when leader Ronnie Van Cant died in 1977. Barrere, Clayton, Gradney and Hayward are four survivors of Little Feat, which ended when leader Lowell George died in 1979. Saturday night at the Merriweather Post Pavilion both bands of survivors wrestled with the ghosts of their old bands and departed leaders. Both new bands recaptured the vigorous boogie beat that fueled their old bands' appeal. But only the Rossington-Collins Band solved the problem of replacing the lead vocalist and finding a new direction.
Gary Rossington and Allen Collins were key guitarist and songwriters in Lynyrd Skynyrd, and they still produce a dense, syncopated three-guitar sound. Their new lead singer is Dale Krantz, a female wailer who sounds nothing like Van Zant but has a similar stubborn authority. The interplay between Krantz's clear, piercing voice and the thick, tangled guitars worked well enough that Rossington-Collins could stick to their own songs and not sing a single Lynyrd Skynyrd tune. They may have brand new problems, however, for Collins threw his guitar into the crowd halfway through the set and disappeared for the rest of the night.
The four Little Feat survivors (the fifth, Bill Payne, is playing sessions) were joined by Phil Brown, an undistinguished singer/guitarist. Though the rhythms were as powerful as in the old days, neither Brown nor Barrere could supply much personality to the vocals. Frankly, these Little Feat alumni were better off playing with Catfish Hodge in Chicken Legs.