Loudest Taping Ever: Them Crooked Vultures Rock Austin City Limits
October 2, 2009
There was a definite buzz in the air. And the excitement was palpable. You don't get too many opportunities to witness legends from bands like The Beatles, The Doors, or in this case Led Zeppelin, live in concert and it wasn't surprising that the eager crowd included a good chunk of our city's media personnel. Plus there were a handful of local luminaries in attendance -- Spoon's Jim Eno sat directly behind us while Lance Armstrong, in the section to our left, seemed to enjoy himself throughout. But the star power tonight was undoubtedly on stage.
John Paul Jones -- an essential ingredient of one of the biggest rock 'n' roll acts of all time, a living legend, and of course, an amazing musician -- was the main draw at last night's Austin City Limits taping but the informed audience knew that he was just one component of this special new band called Them Crooked Vultures. David Grohl and Josh Homme, who had both emerged from their vehicle to loud cheers outside earlier in the evening, received an even louder ovation on taking the stage and for good reason. Grohl continues to take his career to lofty heights with Foo Fighters; of course his sizable contributions to the history of rock began with that one band called Nirvana. Homme has proved his mettle in the rock circuit via numerous well respected projects such as Screaming Trees, Kyuss, and Queens Of The Stone Age.
TCV started with the blistering "Elephants" and Grohl immediately brought back memories of those Nirvana days, his hair flailing around uncontrollably as he pounded away relentlessly, hammering each instrument in his drum kit like he meant it. Homme and former QOTSA guitarist Alain Johannes set the tone early with some huge riffs and it was heartening to see Jones keeping up with his younger counterparts as TCV tore through one bludgeoning rock song after another. Homme's vocal style, the shifting tempos, and the squawking guitars all played a part in evoking QOTSA -- no disrespect at all to the other members from that band, but this was QOTSA+. Jones showcased his skills on a variety of bass guitars, including a slightly mysterious slide bass. He took time to purge the haze of psychedelia produced during "Daffodils" with a soft piano coda and chimed in on the organ to embellish "Caligulove" which also gave us a taste of Homme's falsetto. The scorching jam session that concluded the last song "Warsaw" was an impressive and appropriate finale to the set, which lasted just about an hour. Thoroughly satisfied, we left hoping that an album, or even a proper single, arrives at our doorstep sooner than later.
-- adi anand