See The Future

February 5th, 2010

Them Crooked Vultures Live on Stage
Seems like just last week I was spinning my fresh new copy of Them Crooked Vultures CD and planning to buy tickets for their show at the Paramount. Now months have flown by, and I am still regularly playing that album, and LOUD. I can confidently count that show as one of the best I saw last year, and the best rock record I heard in 2009.

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I’ll admit, I was skeptical about the show, and  I was vocal about this – I’ve been burned before by setting my expectations too high for the first tour of a hotly-anticipated band. (A Perfect Circle comes to mind) And I was doubly wary because the tickets were so damned expensive – about fifty bucks a piece. When a band’s only put out one record, there’s about an hour of material to work with. Sure, the back catalog of Zep songs alone would be like sitting through Wagner’s Ring Cycle, but I had a strong sense that this supergroup wasn’t going to touch the members’ previous work. And I was right. Right, for one, that they wouldn’t play any covers, and right to set my expectations low because I had my socks rocked off that much more. It also paid off that our buddy Matt was the sound tech and helpfully advised where to stand for the show. Helpful tip of the day: consider asking the guy at the boards for the best sound location in the house.  The band thundered through all of the songs on the album, plus a B-side called “Highway 1″. Though I admit having to grit my teeth and avert my eyes from the stage during Josh’s inane hulu antics for “Interlude with Ludes”, the album’s only throwaway track, the rest of the show was structured a lot like the record: loud, quiet, loud. If you have the record, you know this is often the case within one song.

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The whole show came across better live than on the record, from the vaguely Pearl Jam-esque “Bandoliers” to the homage to Cream with “Scumbag Blues.” The extended outro to “Bandoliers” was especially powerful with the guitar-drum battle between Grohl and Homme. As you’d expect of some high-profile rockers, their equipment and lighting was top-notch.  The illuminated fretboard on JPJ’s bass was about as mezmerizing as the number of strings that may have been attached to it. Eight? Ten? I dunno. Kudos to Grohl for trying his damnedest to try to wear out his bass pedals.
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When comparing notes over beers after the show, we collectively agreed that our initial skepticism was pretty misplaced. While the last Queens of the Stone Age show was inferior to shows past, we should have respected the cumulative road time that those three musicians have accrued. Between the Foo Fighters, Nirvana, Zeppelin, Queens, and Eagles of Death Metal, that’s quite a few decades of rock music experience. As Grohl said a few years ago of this project, it “wouldn’t suck.” He’s right.
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In case you have had your head in a cave, or missed my fanboy post here last summer about the emergence of the rock supergroup made up of the (last) drummer of Nirvana, Queens’ frontman Josh, and Zep bassist John Paul Jones, you can catch them this weekend on that NBC sketch comedy show that airs on Saturday nights at 11:30pm.  Or, you can cut out the adverts and check ‘em out on the youtubes.
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Continuing their support of the Deserve the Future tour, Them Crooked Vultures is scheduled to play Coachella Festival on April 16.

Posted by misterlevitan | Filed in Show Critic


2 Responses to “See The Future”

  1. February 6th, 2010 at 12:14 am

    Kevin leDoux said:

    What is JPJ playing in that vid. A lap-bass?

  2. February 6th, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    Chris Morales said:

    JPJ is cool



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