Monday, August 10, 2009
Them Crooked Vultures (Metro - August 10, 2009)
Three words: Them Crooked Vultures. Five additional words: are the greatest band ever. On August 10, the Metro was sold out, the house lights went down, the audence screamed and Them Crooked Vultures made their debut. To call it the greatest debut ever is like calling Kareem Abdul-Jabbar a mere center or Bruce Lee a simple martial artist. To call it promising would severely downplay the talent of the band's members and the songs that spanned their 77 minute debut.
Josh Homme, Dave Grohl and John Paul Jones took the stage with nothing to lose and nothing really to prove other than to simply rock and they did exactly that. Accompanied by an Alain Johannes of Eleven, Them Crooked Vultures performed a set of unheard, unreleased material that left the remants and sounds of their more familiar bands at home. Instead, they brought forth a sound that rocked, was funky, bluesy and, overall, nothing short of jaw dropping.
"Last Breath Before Giving In" gave the audience a small breather with its awe-inspiring, jazz-influenced instrumental section with Homme soloing over a changing tempo provided by Jones and Grohl. "Gunmen" provided one of the two funky numbers of the night with a pseudo-funk rhythm section combining with two rock guitars and ending with Jones on keyboards. "Mind Eraser And Night Chaser" was a full on rock assault which included synths and the use of a Korg Kaossilator.
The overall performance was tighter than one would expect from a band performing all new material and for their first live performance. Grohl sang backup for several songs all while smiling and pounding the drums until you could feel the hits of the bass and tom resonating through the floor. Jones shifted from four to eight string basses, keyboards, Korg Kaossilators and, yes, a keytar, which received one of the biggest applauses from the audience. Homme led the band with his trademark solos and voice as well as dropping the guitar for a number to slink around on the stage and display his dance moves. There are bands who dream of sounding as perfect as this, even during a rehearsal. Given the pedigree and achievements of it's members, it would be hard to imagine them performing anything less than perfect, in their songs or as a band.
Them Crooked Vultures isn't just another supergroup. Based off tonight alone, they're a group that could singlehandly bring Rock back to the top of the Billboard charts. It's Rock minus trends, images, fake emotions and anyone picking up guitars and claiming that they rock. Iggy Pop recently called today's rock a bunch of "idiot thugs with guitars" and while that statement may be true in certain areas of Rock, it definitely wasn't at the Metro this morning. Instead, you were introduced to three decades of great musicians and songwriters where Rock's past joined together with Rock's present to form a future that is worth looking forward to. If this performance and these songs are any indicator as to what to expect from their debut album, then it has already been handed "Album Of The Year."