Posted by Mike on October 12, 2009
The Super Group. It can be an amazing display of musical alchemy(Chickenfoot, Audioslave) or it can royally suck(Asia, Bad English) In the case of Them Crooked Vultures it’s the former. Sunday night(10/11/09)at The House Of Blues Josh Homme(Queens Of The Stone Age, Kyuss), Dave Grohl(Nirvana, Foo Fighters), John Paul Jones(Led Zeppelin) and Queens collaborator Alain Johannes invited us into there spastic spaceship and took everyone in the room on a trip that few may recover from. The place was already primed by the hype of the musical fiber of each of it’s members. I mean, LED Fuckin’ ZEPPELIN! As soon as they walked on stage, the crowd went crazy with fanatical adulation. Once the music started, it was clear that this was not a nostalgia trip or a pursuit of lucre. It was four musicians enjoying the challenge of freaking each other out. The music displayed the style of Messrs. Homme and Johannes’ band. A schizophrenic, disjointed wall of sound that took many hairpin turns and mood swings. At times it was like a hall of whirling knives, other times they brought it down to a spacey textural jam highlighted by Homme and Johnnes’ guitar wizardry.
I love watching Dave Grohl play drums. I’ve seen the Foo’s a few times and they always deliver with Grohl leading the way with his unabashed rock star antics. He can pull it off because of his fervent love of what he does. He injects his enthusiasm into the room and makes it feel like we are all sharing the “Luckiest Guy In The World” vibe. But when Grohl is behind the drum kit he explodes like a manic octopus. Mistress Carrie pointed out his resemblance to Animal from the Muppet Band. All arms and hair flailing with the ever present giant smile. His epic hammering brought many smiles to his band mates. That’s what it’s all about: Joy. Loving the moment playing with people who push you to new standards.
A musician of John Paul Jones’ calliber could easily get any gig he wants and go back to his pre-Zeppelin days as a studio mercenary. Of all the surviving members of Led Zeppelin he has cashed in the least. Rarely does he re-visit his old bands material, save for the reunion or two. Last night he was obviously having a blast. You could see in his face the expression of pleasure of creating something totally different from anything he has done before. At times the Zeppelin groove worked it’s way into some of the set. How could it not? With one of the creators and three guys schooled by his creation. But it only lasted for a verse or two then quickly changed direction. There was a Spinal Tap, “Lick My Love Pump” moment when Jones ended a song with a weeping piano coda. But that was the only instance of cliche.
They played all original material from a supposedly forthcoming album with Homme giving the titles in between. I think it would be cool if they didn’t release an album and just played shows sporadically. Keep it mysterious, like a 70′s style super group. Not wearing out the novelty and excitement of the collaboration. TCV also win the award for coolest display of weird guitars. It was a parade of vintage oddities and in Jones’ case strange electric mandolins and a guitar(?) that looked like a piece of alien weaponry from ”Men In Black” complete with multicolored read- out screen on the body. Very little is known of the future plans of this project. With 4 talented multi-instrumentalists the possibilities are endless. Also, with all of their respective bands and projects I would imagine it was next to impossible to make time for it. I’m glad they did and I hope to hear and see more.
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