greta van fleet w/ cloves at stage ae outdoors, pittsburgh pa, 7.18.18
greta van fleet from a punk rock outsiders perspective...
Well, this a different one here for Death Comes Lifting. Especially coming off my first live review (LINK), tech death wizards Rivers of Nihil & co. But, hey, that's what I do. Spice things up. Throw a pinch of cayanne in that bitch. Shake and bake baby. Really... What would life be without a little contrast? It'd be stale, jaded, uninspired, and uninteresting. Though of in terms of music, the same holds true. And, at least for me, that is the problem with our boys in Greta Van Fleet.
Look, don't get me wrong, I'm not hating. Whatsoever. I'm as big of a music fan as anyone; no matter what genres I tend to favor. It'd be completely lame and hypocritical of me to disregard a band because they're not particularly my flavor, or if I feel like many other great bands deserve the level of stature this band has achieved way before they do.. but, hey, ain't that just life? It's only rock n roll, man. So, for me, I am obviously of a different opinion and background than most of the GVF fanbase, it seems. and that's cool. Im going to give you the underground punk/metal fans review of Greta. And, you know what, I far from hated it. A little background..
When I was offered the chance to go to this show, as I do with every show I'm offered to go to, I agreed. with almost zero prior knowldge of the band. I just go to every show I can just because I am simply a ridiculous fan of music and live music. I mean, i'll see fucking anything, i dont give a shit wether i like the genre or not. Here's what I knew about GVF going in: 1. they're ridiculously young and ridiculously popular for having only one record out. 2. they sound like one of the best led zeppelin cover bands i've ever heard. boom. thats it. I've heard a couple of their songs on the interenet/ radio and such, and thought just that. They're not bad, just another led zeppelin/classic rock rip off band that will go away soon, probably. Or make 2 records and the fanbase will lose interest or whatever the case may be - that's what I thought. But, after seeing their show last night, I'm starting to lean towards the thought that they aren't going anywhere - anytime soon.
See, I knew they were popular. But I didn't realize JUST HOW POPULAR. I mean, this was their first real headlining tour - and if I'm not mistaken, the entire thing sold the fuck out in a day or 2. Every city. Playing ampitheaters to 4-6 thousand people in each city. With ONE record out? Who does that besides some manufcatured pop stars that get stadiums full of middle school kids there with one record out? Let alone a rock n roll band?? My mind went two places: 1. Its just that manufcatured pop star boy band shit desguised as a rock band that blantanlty rips of Zeppelin and such, ok. OR. 2. They really are that fucking good.
The reality of the situation? Neither, I think. I do not think they are a boy band presented as a rock n roll band. NOR do I think that they are THAT fucking good. I think they are a group of great looking, exteremly talented ,young rockers with a strong passion and desire to play the music they want to play. all the above translate into having a large fan base. Their music is easily accessible, wether you are a new young rock radio fan, or an old school die hard, there's something in gvf for you. Their blatant Zeppelin esque sound / "new blues " rock vibe works extremely well for what they're doing. so, I believe level of popularity speaks to the need for that type of music to come back into the mainstream and they are simply the only ones there right now. they fill that void for the majority of the population that does not dare dive into the underground rock 'n roll scene to experience some truly great bands. They also speak to the white suburban thrift store hippie that go to music festivals and smoke weed, so, that's awesome - and that was a huge part of the crowd last night. Either way, I'm not hating as I said, the show was pretty damn good.
After suffering through the lacklaster one speed unispired opening act, Cloves, however, just about anything would've been good. I don't even wanna get into the opener. just trust me, if you're reading a review on this website, you wont like them. I will say the coolest part about them was their bassist, pictured below. I would've rather listened to Taylor Swift, for real. THE OLD STUFF THOUGH! Anyway, Greta Van Fleet finally takes the stage in all their rock n roll glory. Or so they think.
How the decided to make their grand entrance I found rather interesting and pretty cool. They DID NOT come out rocking immediately. Showing off their style, the strut out on the stage, white roses in their hands, wearing feathers and fancy jackets, flowing hair and classic rock n roll flower power vibes all around. The singer jokes "I should've been a softball player instead" as he hurls flowers into the crowd as the band tunes up. This lasts for a couple minutes as they kind of warm up, introduce themselves, have fun, and get Pittsburgh prepared for a GVF rock show. Then, they dive into their hit HIghway Song, and it hits hard. The band explodes and the audience comes to life. Singing every word as the singer deos a damn fine job hitting those high notes, the bass stays in a groovy thumping tone, the guitarst dances wirls and frails, hitting every note with perfection, and the drummer stays back kicking ass on those bongos. There is no denying that they ARE a fucking rock n roll band, and they do it very well. They are as tight of a band as any that have been in the game for a number of years, forget their ages and number of records they have out.. they rock like pros. And as they continue on through their set, that doesn't change for a second. They have slower tunes, but they translated very well and had a nice edge to them in a live setting.
Stage AE outdoors is ALWAYS a fantastic place to see a rock show, without fail. the sound was perfect and more importantly I got a real honest rock show vibe from the auidence. There was crowd sufing, there was tons of pot, there were people on shoulders, etc.. everyone, Greta included, were having FUN. And thats really what it's all about. regardless if I or anyone loves Greta's music ( I think plenty of bands are better and could just as well capture this mythical rock show vibe, as many have done) but, there's no denying that this is missing from mainstream rock 'n roll today. Actually, just rock 'n roll is missing from the mainsteram today. So, If Greta are here to bring it back, who the fuck am I to hate on it? I completely enjoyed myself, maybe not as much as the other part of the auidence, but still; I did. I very much look forward to their next record and really hope they expand their sound. Right now, going way back to the intro of this whole thing, there isn't enough contrast to captivate me or a true rock' n roll fan. I think, anyway. They have this whole zeppelin blues thing going on and, well, that's it. No matter how much you sound like Robert Plant, or how well you can play your riffs, the same shit gets boring after a while. And they haven't been doing it long enough to full develop their state presence . I found myself losing interest halfway through the set, and their stage presence did not hold up to their mighty rockstar kind of personas. As far as modern true rock 'n roll in the mainstream, The Struts do it way better, for my money. I'd love to see greta throw on a stooges record and gain some attiutde into thier music and stage presecne. But hey, they're playing sold out ampithereters and I am not. So, keep on rocking boys.