Them Crooked Vultures Review: New Original Music

Sometimes it takes a while for the reality of a concert (good or bad) to set in. After a month, this show still stands out as one of the best I have experienced. Josh Homme, John Paul Jones and Dave Grohl were all at full force – loud and clear. The music from their self titled CD is a treasure trove of rock influences that are crafted in a way that is unique to this band, not just the individual contributors. In concert, the addition of Alain Johannes, who helped record the Them Crooked Vultures CD, on guitar and keyboards allowed them to take their studio work as a baseline and expand from there. There were times in the show that the guitars sounded symphonic against the pounding backdrop of the Jones/Grohl rhythm section. The additional Caribbean influence on “Interlude with Ludes” made this song sound better than the studio version. The funky keyboards on “Scumbag Blues” seemed even crisper. It was as if they had gene spliced Cream and Stevie Wonder.

You would expect Josh Homme and Dave Grohl to be going non-stop, and you would be right. The slashing guitars and triathlon drumming were amazing. However, John Paul Jones was also bringing it all night. He played the bass fingers down, lead guitar style and slide guitar style. One minute he is grinding his bass into the speaker, then he’s playing keyboard and next he is brandishing a keyboard strapped over his shoulder around the stage. Josh’s lyrics and vocals were perfect.

Just as The Dead Weather elevated blues rock to a new level with their CD release and Tabernacle concert in 2009, Them Crooked Vultures have taken traditional hard rock to a new level. These were easily the best shows of the 2000’s for me. It is great to hear genuine new original music again and a treat to see it live.

Official Them Crooked Vultures Site:

Review By: John Stepp


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