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Home » John Paul Jones, Tour Watch

Them Crooked Vultures, Lifestyle Communities Pavilion, Columbus, OH

6 October 2009 2,478 views No Comment

6th October 2009 –

 

Set list:

Elephants
Dead End Friends

Mind Eraser (No Chaser)
Scumbag Blues
Gunman
Caligulove
Bandoliers
Daffodils
Interlude w/ ludes
Reptiles
New Fang
Nobody Loves Me & Neither Do I
Warsaw

Concert Review: Them Crooked Vultures

Tragedy Of The Age Web-Site

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It was a four hour trip between my home in Pennsylvania and the venue I was headed to in Columbus, Ohio – and while I knew that I had work bright and early the next morning, it was no more than an afterthought as I made the journey to see what I knew to be a rock concert of epic proportions – one of only ten gigs in the US on this new superband’s first tour. The band, who calls themselves Them Crooked Vultures, is the most exciting combination of musical talent in years. I couldn’t let something like work obligations get in the way.

It all began on the fortieth birthday of the coolest guy in rock, Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, which in unsurprising and amusing Grohl fashion, was held at a Medieval Times. There, Grohl conveniently sat the legendary Led Zeppelin bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones next to Queens of the Stone Age founder Josh Homme, two musicians that had never met, but by the end of the night had agreed to Grohl’s proposition that they join him for a little musical side-project. It was there, among the jousting knights in shining armor, that Them Crooked Vultures was born – Homme on lead vocals and guitar, Jones doing his thing on the bass and keyboard, and Grohl taking a step out of the spotlight to go back to his first love, the drums.

I recognized that this was a concert experience that I shouldn’t pass up.. The band had yet to release their album or even a single. Their sound was still a mystery and their entire set would be unknown to the entire audience. It seemed like we would be experiencing a concert much like before the digital age of MP3 downloading and MySpace band profiles afforded one the ability to memorize every lyric before ever attending a concert. There would be no crowd sing-a-longs here, but after experiencing it, I assure you, it wasn’t necessary.

We arrived at the venue two hours before the doors opened. Eager to secure our spot next to the stage we hopped into the already forming line, geeking out a bit with those in line next to us as the anticipation built. When the doors finally opened, the venue was flooded with the sold-out crowd of three-thousand. I was surprised by the small size of the venue’s interior, but pleased with the intimate atmosphere it provided and more pleased with securing that coveted spot immediately front and center.

When the band finally took stage amidst the roar of the crowd, they ripped their way through a head-banging song fit for a single titled “Elephants,” followed by Homme introducing the band one by one with much applause and cheers, before pointing towards the man holding the bass guitar. “And this is…” he began, but before he could finish, the crowd was deafening. Despite how low profile he has been since Led Zeppelin’s demise, John Paul Jones needed no introduction.

The trio (along with a fourth concert-only guitarist) continued to jam through their set and despite the fact that the crowd did not know these songs, it did not stop the crowd from head-banging, dancing, clapping, or throwing their hands in the air. The music is hard to define, but it is certainly loud, big, and both back to the basics yet deceptively intricate. It is adventurous hard rock, blending riffs very reminiscent of Queens of the Stone Age with the bluesy thunderous rock of Led Zeppelin.

I’ve never been shy to admit my man crush on Dave Grohl and it was great to see him smile throughout the entirety of the show as he absolutely smashed on the drums brilliantly as if he were Animal from The Muppets. I’m still wondering how he did not manage to break his drumset or his nose. I appreciated how he took his role as the drummer with modesty, using his microphone only for backup vocals, never once uttering a word into it, despite knowing that if he said absolutely anything, the crowd would have got berserk. He was having plenty of fun though and winked and smiled his way through the show, at one point even giving my friend standing next to me a thumbs up, and another time jokingly shaking his head and giving a thumbs down when Homme was talking about how much fun they had playing together.

Still, it wasn’t Dave that had most of my attention. It was John Paul Jones that left me in awe from the moment he took the stage. He thumped and slid on an array of bass guitars, then busted out a keytar (which had Homme drop his guitar and dance around stage in goofy-fasion as he sang), and then finally what I was anticipating most, in the midst of a song, the lights dimmed, and like rays from heaven, a single spotlight focused on Jones as he set down his bass to perform a beautiful, classically inspired keyboard solo that gave me chills and left the crowd mesmerized. Words cannot explain.

These guys were there to rock out, to have a good time, and to put on one hell of a show – and they succeeded on all fronts. Despite Homme not being the most charismatic frontman and his disinterest in crowd interaction, and despite the audience being unfamiliar with the music, in my eyes (as well as those I discussed it with after), none of that was needed. It was ninety minutes straight of mind-blowing hard old-school jamming that ended with an epic five-minute odyssey of astonishing fingerwork on the strings accompanied by insanely wild percussion. Them Crooked Vultures may not be break into mainstream radio, but you can tell that this unlikely combination of musicians don’t mind. They’re having too damn good of a time.

 

 

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