*photos by Steven Friederich
Them Crooked Vultures should consider billing themselves as the second coming of the Monsters of Rock.
Sure Monsters of Rock was a long-running festival that featured several groups and TCV are just one band, but this one band features John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin on bass, Dave Grohl of Nirvana and the Foo Fighters behind the drum kit and Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age on vocals and lead guitar. And this one band delivered a monstrously epic set of rock to a capacity crowd at the Paramount Theatre Saturday night. On record TCV sounds like a glorified Queens of the Stone Age thanks to Homme helming the vocals, but in concert Them Crooked Vultures comes across like an unstoppable monster of a supergroup.
Homme’s fuzzy stoner-rock guitar sound soared through the venue. His frontman duties were also admirable, especially when he took the microphone off the stand and gallivanted all over the stage during “Interludes With Ludes.” Jones’ bass held down the low end during the 90-minute show but it wasn’t until the third song of the set, “Scumbag Blues,” where he really made himself heard and from then on it was all JPJ all the time. Grohl’s presence was felt the entire night, from the opening drum hits of “No One Loves Me & Neither Do I,” which was the first song of the set, to show closer “Warsaw or the First Breath You Take After You Give Up.” He should consider giving up his day job fighting foos because it’s clear he belongs behind a drum kit. And touring guitarist Alain Johannes made his presence known by adding slight flourishes to Homme’s distinctive style while the band played through its entire self-titled debut. As an added treat an unreleased song, “Highway One,” made the set.
Almost every face in the crowd was wearing a smile as concertgoers reveled in the pure joy of watching these titans of rock together. But the faces in the crowd weren’t the only ones having fun. Homme, Grohl and Jones flashed smiles at one another throughout the show, making the concert almost feel like a mutual admiration society of rock. I walked into the show thinking it would be a one-off performance considering Homme, Grohl and Jones have other obligations involving other bands (Hey JPJ when are we going to get that Zeppelin reunion?) and although there was no encore, their smiles combined with the performance of “Highway One” hinted that Saturday may not have been the last fans will see of Them Crooked Vultures.
Them Crooked Vultures set list:
No One Loves Me & Neither Do I
Dead End Friends
Mind Eraser, No Chaser
Interlude with Ludes
Spinning in Daffodils
Warsaw or the First Breath You Take After You Give Up