Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Vultures Circling

Mrs Wife and I made the long, dark journey to Edinburgh last night to bask in the glow that only true legends can truly provide.
This was no mere journey to a gig - this was a chance to get up close and personal with genuine living, breathing rock behemoths the likes of which venture only rarely to these frozen Arctic wastelands.
The term supergroup has been used to describe Them Crooked Vultures since the moment they formed. Bring together Nirvana's drummer, Queens of the Stone Age's singer/guitarist and - the crowning achievement (in the eyes of many) - Led Zeppelin's bass player, and it becomes almost inevitable.
In truth, regarding Josh Homme as being in the same league as Messrs Grohl and Jones is a tad unrealistic, but the three certainly seem to be the best of friends.
I'd forgotten just how powerful a drummer Dave Grohl is. Only once before had I seen him behind a kit in the flesh, and it was for only five minutes during a Foo Fighters festival set.
But last night, in the comparatively small Corn Exchange, there was a chance to see him thump the tubs for the duration of a full concert.
A lot of the time, he's like Animal from the Muppets, wildly flailing arms, head bobbing furiously and a huge grin covering half his face. If there can be such a thing as controlled ferocity, Dave Grohl personifies it. His drumming literally sounded like artillery fire at times, yet there was never a dropped beat. On the sleazy flamenco of Interlude With Ludes, his rhythm became even more complex, seeming to involve wooden blocks and rim shots (behave) as well as cymbals.
Although Homme and live guitarist Alain Johannes contributed most to the vocals and guitars, the more obvious attention-grabber was John Paul Jones. These days, worryingly, he looks more like my mum's 50-something partner than half of the rhythm section from the most legendary groupie-shagging, devil-worshipping, drug-imbibing rock band this planet has ever seen.
But he can still play. There were nimble-fingered jazz-flecked bass solos, tender piano instrumentals, a whole track where he played only keytar and a general air of mild bemusement at the sheer awe with which the assembled fans greeted him.
The music? It sounded like Queens of the Stone Age with the fat stripped off - lean, heavy and loud. The band has far more character and gravitas on stage than was evident on its album.
Watch out for them coming to a festival near you next year.

1 comment:

Mike Smith said...

Happy Christmas to you and yours Jock.