The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

THEM CROOKED VULTURES – CHALLENGE STADIUM

19/1/10 By Metal Billy

Support – The Novacaines

 

 

Not many bands will advertise a gig before their first album is out, but when the band comprises Rock Royalty such as Homme, Grohl and JP Jones the tickets are bought in anticipation of something special, and Them Crooked Vultures delivered the goods to an awestruck 3500 strong crowd at Challenge Stadium.

 

The question was how would TCV fill out a set with only 1 album to draw from – albeit one of the best releases of 2009. By rocking the fuck out of the entire album with one new song and extended jams aplenty at maximum volume ( as loud as the recent Slayer / Megadeth Challenge Show ), a simple but mesmerizing light show and AAA grade musicianship from the above trio, ably assisted by the unsung 6 stringer Alain Johannes ( Spinerette / QOTSA ) who more than held his own, showcasing his talents with a tasty guitar solo mid set.

 

Arriving on stage with little fanfare apart from a huge roar and opening up with No One Loves Me and Neither Do I, it was apparent from the first instance that these guys were enjoying themselves – Josh Homme, the coolest ranga [Editor’s note: “ranga” = redhead in Australian slang!] in the known Universe with his distinctive vocals and intricate guitar licks, the tight as fuck rhythm section of John Paul Jones, looking 20 years younger than his mid sixties, and the thrashing beast that is Dave Grohl channeling the ghost of Bonham, resembling Animal from the Muppets with arms flailing, hair and sweat flying, had the crowd truly enthralled at witnessing the spectacle of TCV dishing out 90+ minutes of classic rock gems which are a potpourri of retro Zep, quirky QOTSA and the magical enzymes that are top notch song writing, talented musicianship and sheer class.

 

At floor level the bass and drums were punching holes in chests with Homme’s soothing crooning and soaring falsetto repairing the damage as he manipulated his guitar to the ebb and flow of the many tempo changes TCV employ in their tunes.

 

 

‘Dead End Friends’, ‘Scumbag Blues’ and ‘Elephants’ followed with new song ‘Highway One’ slotting in seamlessly alongside more well known tunes ‘New Fang’, ‘Mind Eraser No Chaser’ and the epic 10 minute closer of ‘Warsaw or The First Breath You Take After You Give Up’ which showcased TCV’s talent for the extended jam, all the while Homme’s clear vocals and the huge but crisp sound mix enabling the band to sonically enhance the album tunes without compromising the quality. Add to this some JPJ organ and piano touches and Johannes’ fertile input and this was a gig that will be remembered for a long time.

 

The biggest roar of the night came during Homme’s band intro and was for the Bass Maestro Jones, who showcased his skills throughout the night on 4, 6 and 8 string bass complete with Muse-style effects pad to create some astonishing sounds, dueling with Homme at one point to the delight of one and all.

 

There was no encore, which was a refreshing change from the norm and all 4 members of TCV genuinely seemed to appreciate the adulation of the satisfied punters as they took a few bows and walked off the stage.

 

The only small criticism is that TCV have a limited repertoire at this point so if they continue to be an entity as Homme and Co have maintained and more albums of the standard of their self titled debut are produced, then things are only going to get a whole lot better. And they will be playing to a shitload more than 3500 people next time they visit our shores.

 

Mention must also be made of the great sound mix which is becoming a feature of Challenge shows nowadays – loud but still clear which is a hard balance to achieve.

 

As the saying goes “you had to be there” – an amazing Rock experience. And if you weren’t there … well where the fuck were you? Excuse me I didn’t hear you …my ears are still ringing



Set List

1. No One Loves Me & Neither Do I
2. Dead End Friends
3. Scumbag Blues
4. Elephants
5. Highway One
6. New Fang
7. Gunman
8. Bandoliers
9. Mind Eraser, No Chaser
10. Caligulove
11. Interlude With Ludes
12. Spinning In Daffodils
13. Reptiles
14. Warsaw or The First Breath You Take