Dave Grohl was the first to move onstage. He walked to the edge of the platform at the Sound Academy and stared down at the crowd with a you-dont-know-what-youre-in-for look on his face. He was spot-on. Followed by Josh Homme and John Paul Jones, Grohl got into place as the others picked up their instruments. He played relentlessly the first few beats and the other members joined in unison on the fourth count — the sold-out crowd was jarred by the sheer intensity and volume of this new sound.
Thus began this 80-minute ride.
Them Crooked Vultures pounded out their first song, Elephants, a moody metal-infused blues number driven by insanely hard drums, sturdy bass-lines, screeching guitar riffs and Hommes eerie falsetto. It was like no other song Ive heard before and I, along with the rest of the crowd, loved it. When it was over and while the audience was still in awe, Homme moved casually to the microphone to let the audience know that he was havin a good time. Are you havin a good time? We should do this every week.
They played a couple more high-energy numbers: Scumbag Blues, New Fang, Gunman and Nobody Loves Me (And Neither Do I). The drums shuddered with such force it was as if the camera set up behind the band was projecting earthquake footage. Each of these songs was haunted with Hommes voice and insane guitar parts. Not surprisingly, the spirit of Zeppelin was undeniably present in the bands music. There was a constant push-pull dynamic against Jones classic blues-rock influences and the others contemporary rock sounds. In fact, there was a moment where I thought I was listening to Zeppelins Immigrant Song. It was actually Warsaw, a love song, according to Homme.
There was only one questionable moment during the show: when Homme put down his guitar and Jones picked up a keytar. They ended up playing an interlude that seemed antithetical to the theme of the rest of the show. It was much calmer than the rest of their songs, almost like a 50s R&B/flamenco mutation.
After this anti-climax, Homme introduced the band, moving from Alain Johannes (their live guitarist) to Grohl. When he got to the bass player, a manwho needs no introduction, Homme just pointed to him and remained silent. The crowd broke into a chant. John Paul Jones! John Paul Jones!
Once the fans settled down, Homme added half-jokingly, Yeah, me and Dave did that too.
At the end of the ride, the fans were left wanting more and with no encore, some left somewhat disgruntled. This is perhaps a good indicator of the bands musical integrity. The beauty of Them Crooked Vultures music is that its not just a recycling of the roots of each member; its a completely new dynamic, a new invention with beats and riffs that jive together like bread and butter, an invention that gets your heart beating.
There are a few more North American tour leg dates and nothing planned for the band after that. Online speculation says that their debut album will be out by the end of October, or the end of the year at the latest.
Ill be waiting in line to pick up my copy.