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Them Crooked Vultures – Scotia Place, Ottawa, ON

13 May 2010 2,725 views No Comment

Them Crooked Vultures Get The Jams Brewing

 No One Loves Me & Neither Do I
Scumbag Blues 
Dead End Friends 
Highway One
New Fang
Interlude with Ludes 
Mind Eraser, No Chaser
You Can’t Possibly Begin to Imagine
Spinning in Daffodils
Warsaw or the First Breath You Take After You Give Up

OTTAWA — The term “supergroup” conjures up an image of overwrought egos bursting at the seams to displace their co-conspirator’s once fleeting glories in order to truly rekindle the magic from something that was lost to the Annals Of Rock. Them Crooked Vultures take the high road, allowing each genial member of this ever-morphing power trio (rounded out by virtuoso session dude Alain Johannes in a live setting) to contribute their own spin on barroom jamming at their leisure, inserting timely solos and free-form quasi-funk whenever appropriate.

Did I mention John Paul Jones stole the show?

From the moment TCV took the stage, before a note was struck, some 3,000 grunge-loving rawkers stood, as if on cue, to give JPJ the standing ovation he so righteously deserved. “Let’s get goin'”, enthused ringleader/guitar/vox slayer Josh Homme (Kyuss, QOTSA) as the applause faded out. The band leaned into the languid burner No One Loves Me & Neither Do I, JPJ busted out a futuristic bass hybrid and uber-skinsman Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foos) amped up the pounding psychedelics. The cavernous ‘Bank was transformed into a giant club replete with a stellar light show and an intimate feel while the band employed a never-ending stream of cool guitars to get the fretboard fireworks up to spec.

The stop/start riffology of Scumbag Blues inspired the beer-drenched crowd to raise a coupla horns as JPJ sang his heart out and Homme employed a cocksure bluesy swagger to ensure his guit-box chicanery matched his near-perfect falsetto. Dead End Friend, all punked-up new wave flotsam, saw JPJ lock in with Grohl to inspire some old skool hair swinging from one of rock’s greatest drummers. Clad in cammo shorts and a cut-off T, Grohl’s ever-present grin accentuated the fact TCV were in it for the good times.

“You really are an attractive bunch,” cooed Homme as JPJ repositioned himself in front of a vintage keys setup for a rousing version of Caligulove, an authentic Zep-tacular nod if there was one this eve. Further electro-piano forays prompted Homme to ad lib “We got f—-d up in Montreal last night. Dave Grohl says he feels much better now” and, as the band ripped into Mind Eraser, No Chaser, Ottawa’s hard rock faithful hoisted half-empty Canadians on high.

“We don’t do encores, we don’t do covers,” extolled Homme at the end of the bash, thus quashing any hopes of hearing Kashmir live in 2010. TCV prove that extremely talented rock hounds can check their egos at the door and get on with the business of cranking sweet jams. I hardly even missed Smells Like Teen Spirit.

Review by Shawn Jam Hill, The Ottawa Citizen
Scotiabank Place, Ottawa

OTTAWA – In a business that thrives on marketing hyperbole as much as rock and roll, superlatives come cheap, and are often undeserved. So I was hopeful, but just a little suspicious that Them Crooked Vultures would live up to their supergroup billing.

Mind you, it’s hard not to get caught up in the supergroup buzz with Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl and Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme in the band. Fuelling their high expectations is their 2009 debut album. It’s a killer.

So is the band live. Their U.K. tour sold out in minutes. Here, on the North American side, they’re primarily playing smaller venues with the odd arena in larger markets.

Why they drew a scant reported 3,000 at Scotiabank Place last night, or why they even played such a big place is beyond me. Did they all come out to Kanata in the same bus? There was more security on the floor than fans.

The band didn’t seem to care. That’s the first thing you notice about TCV. They’re cool guys, who don’t have to sell CDs and tickets, they’re having fun.

It was easy to tell. The chemistry was written all over their faces as Jones, the veteran bass player and guitarist, and frontman Homme exchanged quick solos during their opening number No One Loves Me and Neither Do I and Gunman but that was only a preview of the intense, almost orgasmic jam the three and tour guitarist Alain Johannes exchanged on Scumbag Blues.

Like Zeppelin, TCV is built from the ground up, with a monster rock rhythm section. But Homme’s vocals and guitar charts are more innovative and playful like Clapton’s Cream. It was thrilling to see the 60-something Jones playing as if he were a kid, the sexy Homme swaggering like a rock god, and, as always, Grohl as a frenzied blur behind the drumkit. The only time we saw his face was when he came up for air.

Naturally, Jones received loud cheers every time he soloed. Fans chanted his name and even Homme kept introducing Jones.

Every time he said “Guys, this is John-effing Paul Jones!” and every time the fans cried they were so happy.

But this was not a night to be sentimental, to play any lame covers of old favourites, or crank up the rock and roll cliches. TCV made that clear, ripping sound waves to shreds on Dead End Friends, Elephants, Highway 1, New Fang, Bandoliers, Caligulove.

They kept turning the heat up with Can’t Possibly, Spinning in Daffodils, Mind Eraser, Reptiles and their final tune Warsaw until by show’s end, the fans were left delirious.

About time too that the old guys showed the youngsters how it’s done. Not since another old fart band, Nick Cave’s Grinderman, has music felt even as remotely dangerous and live as it did last night.

Absolutely the best rock concert I’ve seen in years.

Them Crooked Vultures. Superband?

You bet.

Review by Denis Armstrong from Jam.canoe,ca

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