Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Them Crooked Vultures @ Stubbs

Posted by shore On October - 2 - 2009

themcrookedvulturesstubbs Five weeks ago, I rolled into Austin to start the next chapter of my life.  There are dozens of reasons why I wound up here, but high on the list was my desire to reestablish live music as a lifestyle.  Tonight was a big step in that effort, as I saw my first show at the legendary Austin venue, Stubbs BBQ.  Although it was my first time at Stubbs, no one else in the place was any more familiar with what was about to happen than I was.  Never before has there been such a long line of excited patrons for a band that has yet to release an album.  It was the Thursday before the start of ACL, and magic was in the air as supergroup Them Crooked Vultures got ready to kick off the festival weekend.

As the lights went on, and the parade of rock and roll demigods took their places on stage, the crowd seemed to get almost uncomfortable.  It’s probably something like what Vikings fans felt the first time they watched Brett Favre take a snap in purple…you couldn’t be happier about the situation, but there’s just something unbelievable about the whole thing.  A shockingly young looking John Paul Jones strapped on his bass, Dave Grohl got behind the kit where we first grew to know and love him, and Josh Homme took center stage.  (Oh, and I shouldn’t forget Alain Johannes, who suddenly resembles Frank Black.)

For the first few songs, I was impressed, but couldn’t help but think that the Queens of the Stone Age sound was coming through more than anything else.  Songs like “Gunman” and “Elephants” embody Josh Homme, but the crowd wasn’t quite into it yet, and I think they were thinking the same thing I was (“Why is John Paul Jones looking at Josh Homme for cues?”)  Dave Grohl, however, was sweating out beats from the get-go.  Make no mistake about it, in this cast of greatness, Grohl is the backbone of the ensemble.

The Vultures seemed to really hit their stride around the 6th song or so, when they swung JPJ over to the keys and started rocking on “Caligulove.”  When your bassist is playing keyboards, your drummer becomes a one man rhythm section, and Dave Grohl HELD IT DOWN.  It’s not often that I’m impressed with the percussion at a show, but Dave got me rockin.

A couple of songs later, and Jones busts out a crazy 10-string bass with lights on the fretboard.  This is where the show went from good to great.  No longer did TCV sound like a rewrite of QotSA.  You suddenly felt that twangy boom that only a Led Zeppelin veteran can provide.  Seamlessly, Homme starts in with the slide guitar, and JPJ was back on the keys for the outro.  I’m feeling very lucky at this point.

From there, Jones didn’t stop switching instruments, going from bass, to keys, to slide bass on “Reptiles,” etc.  He even busted out the key-tar for a great little crooner number called “Interlude with the Lube,” or something to that effect.  Basically, the last half was Josh Homme giving the show back over to the old vet.  That is, until the final song of the night was reached.  EVERYONE killed that last song, and the crowd was finally into it in a big way.  They jammed out for a good stretch of time, and Josh Homme had a look on his face like “Oh, shit, this guy is used to playing next to Jimmy Page, I’d better step my game up.”  And he did.  Homme shredded out a great solo to send us all out on a high note, Dave Grohl again kicked out a hard rocking jam beat to keep everyone in line.  The only thing missing was an encore, but I’m pretty sure they ran through their entire catalog in the 80-minute set.  (But I won’t lie, I was secretly wishing for an “Immigrant Song” encore)

All in all, I learned two things from tonight’s TCV set.

1.  The term “supergroup” is not to be used lightly, but when you have over 60 years of combined rock n’ roll stardom on stage, there is no other appropriate term.

2.  Austin is my new home.

Welcome to Texas, y’all.  ACL 2009 is off to a great start.  8.9/10

-Bryn Davies

3 Responses

  1. Bryn Said,

    Thanks for allowing me the guest spot, guys. Enjoy the weekend.

    Posted on October 2nd, 2009 at 11:04 am

  2. Ron Said,

    You know your stuff. Solid details. Welcome to Texas.

    Posted on October 3rd, 2009 at 6:24 am

  3. Tim Said,

    Interlude With Ludes was the name of the song.

    Posted on October 5th, 2009 at 10:05 am

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