Aftermath: Them Crooked Vultures at Stubb's in Austin
Photos By Craig Hlavaty
Just a few short hours ago Aftermath saw the rock world's newest supergroup in action as Queens of The Stone Age's Josh Homme, ex-Nirvana drummer/current Foo Fighters helmer Dave Grohl, and Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones took the stage at Stubb's in Austin for a warm-up gig before this afternoon's Austin City Limits festival appearance. Thursday night's show was only the second US date for Them Crooked Vultures since their inception this past summer.
It's hard to exactly explain what the conglomeration between those three men and bonus guitarist Alain Johannes sounds like, other than using excessive comparisons to freight trains and the like. One massive parallel we did hear throughout the band's nearly two-hour set was somewhat of a demonic Cream, with Grohl playing drums like Ginger Baker on biker speed. He simply has not hit this hard since the days of his former band' s In Utero and maybe his one-off metal project Probot. Even his work on QOTSA's landmark Songs For The Deaf paled in contrast to his work behind the kit last night. Grohl was little more than a mass of hair and arms in the back of the Homme and Jones-induced sprawl.
Which brings us to Jones who is honestly the backbone of this project for all intents and purposes to Them Crooked Vultures. The man pulled out a keytar, a slide bass, and even played keys on a handful of tracks, with one bass lighting up with blue LED lights. People will prattle on about Jimmy Page being some sort of evil guitar god who sold his soul to craft "Stairway To Heaven", but anyone watching TCV last night would realize that he had a touch of old Pitch himself all along.
All in all the sound of TCV is tight as hell, with the only complaint being that we wish we could have heard more interplay between Grohl and Jones, who together comprise one of rock's best rhythm sections. After all they played behind Page and Plant and Cobain respectively. Homme stayed sturdy the entire night, turning his hip-swiveling red-haired sex menace on full blast.
This evening the band helps close out the daily festivities playing before the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Kings Of Leon over at Zilker Park, so we see ourselves now having to make some serious ass Sophie's Choice-style decisions. We are actually quite interested now to see what a largely outsider festival crowd will think of TCV's extended punishingly intricate jams. Projects like this don't last long and go poof just as soon as they bloom. Let's hope these guys stick around for a touring cycle or two.
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