Going Live: Them Crooked Vultures

Them Crooked Vultures1Photos Cred: Jeff Parsons

Who: Them Crooked Vultures
Sound Academy, Toronto
October 9th 2009

Josh Homme, Dave Grohl and John Paul Jones.

Those three iconic names cluttered the minds of a sold-out crowd on a damp Friday night. Overlooked when using the moniker Them Crooked Vultures, the new supergroup have been causing quite the stir the last few months. But they haven’t released an album and won’t note when they will release a single.

Yet the Sound Academy was still infested with people.

The very same individuals who have no idea what Them Crooked Vultures truly sound like.

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Unlike the usual youthful Toronto crowds, the one that revealed its face this night was littered with vintage music lovers. Along with the specks of teenagers, there was an abundance of aging music followers. Some were dressed with a sense of fashion, others tattered in nostalgic attire marked by 70s’ Led Zeppelin logos. Like past triumphant rock shows, there were also dignified groupies whose bold looks set off fireworks in the eyes of on-lookers.

One mesmerizing fact about the show was everyone in attendance was ready to have their ears opened to a sound they’ve never heard before. As the three men, and their live accomplice guitarist Alain Johannes, took the stage, the crowd erupted. The mere sight of these musicians filled everyone with a pure sense of joy and wonder. Attendees didn’t know what to expect, but they knew it would be something great, something worth remembering for the rest of their life.

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The band started the night by catapulting into “Elephants”, a track that’s essentially a teaser. As the intro riff spoke with a breath of old rock n’ roll, it fast-forwarded into a heavy and daunting melody that saw the crew ever so quietly swing their hips while Dave Grohl attacked his drum kit. A question mark was placed on guitarist Josh Homme and his position as the singer, but his vocals shone as they channeled a rich kind of rock n’ roll swagger.

Although they’re forced underneath the word “supergroup”, Them Crooked Vultures seem like any ordinary band. They display a unique sound that comes from their very own fingers and voices. To the naked ear, they sound like a combination of the different eras of rock music, but with a hint of edge that solely comes from group. A perfect example is the groovy number “Scumbag Blues”.

Powered by a hypnotic and arousing riff, the song is easily the band’s best. The guitar work and overall sound has an unmatched presence. Many female authors have told stories about how Led Zeppelin use to make girls become women with their music and it seemed as if Them Crooked Vultures had the same effect. As bassist John Paul Jones and Homme dueled and revisited 70s’ rock throughout the tune, women became entranced and starting swaying to the cries of the guitars.

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But the honest embrace wouldn’t stop there. Tracks like “Gunman” and “Daffodil” kept ears opened and only raised the crowd’s volume even more after each song came to a close. Filled with rare kind of energy and style, “Caligulove” is sure to become a live favourite among fans as well. Featuring Jones on keyboards, the track seems normal and subtle until the Led Zeppelin icon decides to take things up a notch. Keyboard bits don’t usually entice, but Jones’ solo was stunning as it was nailed with precision and displayed a lost art.

When describing the group, individuals often use references to the musicians and their other projects: Foo Fighters, Queens Of The Stone Age and Led Zeppelin. Some have said their sound is the equivalent to “caveman rock” while others proclaim it’s the closest thing to the 70s’ this generation will ever see. But after becoming a witness, this is a band a with pledge to attract and fascinate with an assortment of music that’s exotic, rare and terrifying.

They aren’t this decade’s Led Zeppelin.

They are simply Them Crooked Vultures.

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