Them Crooked Vultures (2nd) Los Angeles Debut Was Very, Very Heavy
The latest in a long history of supergroup amalgamations of glorious rock stars debuted tonight at the Wiltern in Los Angeles to celebrate the release of their first album, the self-titled “Them Crooked Vultures”.
I say “debuted”, but they announced a surprise “release-eve” show at the Roxy last night, so I guess it was their “second” debut tonight?
Yeah, I’m gonna go with 2nd debut. Cuz I wanna be at a debut. Of some kind. Even though they’ve played live even before last night. Whatever.
Before I get to how hard TCV rocked, I’ll briefly mention the opening act, LA-based Mini Mansions. They sucked.
That was mean…
Actually, I don’t think a worse situation could’ve been concocted for that poor band. Lemme explain…
They were a trio, where two members regularly switched between drum, bass, and guitar duties… but the drum “set” was a floor tom, snare, and smattering of cymbals, set up to be played while standing. They played spacious, kinda-Beatles-y, well-harmonized songs that each swung forward with a sort of hipster malaise, broken only by a standard, brief between-song silence which contained a confidence-less sentence like, “Thanks. Here’s a new one”. 2 minutes in to “No One Loves Me…” is the 2009 riff of the year
There was a decided lack of rocking.
Now, imagine this lack of rocking preceding a band that contains 25% of Led Zeppelin. Imagining yet? Then you can imagine how after Mini Mansions covered Blondie’s “Heart of Glass”, one dude in the audience yelled, “Go home!”
On to the ass kicking…
TCV came out and opened with “No One Loves Me & Neither Do I”. About 2 minutes in to this song is the 2009 riff of the year if you ask me. There is no rocking harder.
They proceeded to run through the whole album (which I purchased earlier today) with relentless energy and volume.
Tonight was the maiden voyage of my brand-new custom molded nerd-musician earplugs, and although I experienced the show at a comfortable -15db, I’ll tell ya, I forgot I was wearing them about halfway through the first song. I don’t know if this is an indication of the success of the plugs not blocking higher frequencies, or evidence of how loud the band really was…
Each member seemed equally excited to be playing on stage together. I imagine John Paul Jones was excited to be in a brand new band, and I would definitely assume that Dave Grohl, Josh Homme, and extra guitarist/basisst/vocalist Alain Johannes (who was fantastic) were all giddy school children playing on the same stage as John Paul Jones.
This supergroup succeeds by being as heavy as their ingredients indicate they should be, but without sounding jock-ish, dated, contrived, or “3-chord-y”. Not that 3 chord tunes are bad, but we certainly have plenty, and it’s mad exciting to hear pounding rock from a trio that also brings with it a kind of twisted vibe… I guess a way to describe it is that these dozen plus a few songs found grooves and riffs that Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, and Queens of the Stone Age never found… it’s a perfect fresh mix.
But you know what? I could continue talking, or we can jump straight to the sub-par quality videos I took with my G1 phone. They won’t do the evening justice, but you can use your imagination…Enjoy!
“No One Loves Me & Neither Do I” – I apologize for the bouncing, I was rocking. In the future I’ll try to remember that filming and rocking don’t happen well at the same time.
“Dead End Friends” – Awesome.
“Interlude With Ludes” – You know it’s on when JPJ busts the keytar…