Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Concert Review: Them Crooked Vultures @ The Wiltern

I am slowly inching my way to seeing every last remaining member of Led Zeppelin perform in some way. In 2005 I saw Robert Plant in concert, last night I got to witness the great John Paul Jones do his work. Them Crooked Vultures had a big CD release show last night in Los Angeles, They played their debut album in it's entirety, and one thing's for sure they cranked it up to 11.
Dave Grohl is an absolute beast on the drums. What I admire about him is he doesn't go for speed, but rather strength and purpose. Every single time he hit his snare or crashed cymbals he meant it. Playing on stage with his best friend and his hero made him seem like a kid again, it looked like I was watching a young Grohl with Nirvana rather than the crafty Foo Fighter that he is today.
Josh Homme proved himself to be on par with the living legends of guitar last night. Every single song was filled with complicated, passionate and not to mention heavy guitar work. More than anything this concert made me want to check out his main group Queens of The Stone Age live.
Then there was John Paul Jones, the man who most of the crowd came specifically to see. The guy was absolutely on fire, he has not lost any sort of talent from his Led Zeppelin days. His bass work was supreme. What I really noticed was he was doing the same sort of thing that made him an asset to Zeppelin, he kept the songs together. While Grohl and Homme went off on drum and guitar tangents (much like Bonham and Page) he would keep the song on track. The man is absolute glue, and that is an attribute that makes a truly great bass player. Which is why I hold him as one of if not the best bass player ever. The biggest surprise came at the end of their first set, they played the album closer "Spinning in Daffodils." I was not a big fan of this track on the album. However John Paul stole the spotlight when he tore into a lengthy piano solo at the end, reminding me of the work he used to do when Zeppelin's "No Quarter" was performed live. During this, Grohl and Homme just watched in awe, they must have felt like the luckiest men alive that night.
On paper, Them Crooked Vultures could be seen as the best supergroup around. They seemed to be enjoying themselves on stage, Grohl and John Paul have great chemistry together, and their album certainly delivers the heavy hitting rock they promised. However this band lacks depth, which is why after about the fifth song I grew a little tired. As rocking as these songs are, there was very little difference between them, thus the show grew repetitive. Them Crooked Vultures have great potential like all supergroups, however they need to become comfortable with themselves as a band and start to branch out like great bands do.

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