John Paul Jones, Dave Grohl, Josh Homme unveil Them Crooked Vultures
While a large number of Los Angeles-area music fans dealt with the frustrations of the shuttered Hard Summer event at the Forum, our Chicago friends had a bounty of music this weekend. Lollapalooza, aside from scorching heat and a bit of rain, appears to have gone relatively smoothly, and Greg Kot's Turn It Up blog offers detailed day-by-day takes of what went down.
Sets from Bat for Lashes, Lou Reed, Dhani Harrison's newno2, the Gaslight Anthem and Chicago newcomers He Say, She Say sound like they were more than worth braving the air-conditioned buses and crowds of 70,000 or more.
But Lolla was just one of Chicago's main events this weekend. Later, Them Crooked Vultures was unveiled at Wrigleyville club Metro, featuring Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones on bass/keyboard, Foo Fighter Dave Grohl on drums and Josh Homme from Queens of the Stone Age on guitar/lead vocals. Little was known heading in, but Kot was at the post-Lollapalooza show late Sunday/early Monday, and the news sounds good.
After debuting a dozen songs at Metro, the group made it very clear that it’s not only for real, but also has the chance to be the exception to the super-group rule. Most of these Frankenstein projects usually end up being less than the sum of their parts, but Crooked Vultures sounded like it was on to something fresh, invigorating and just plain nasty.
The review continued:
The set’s foundation was hard rock and hard edges, with Jones and Grohl going toe-to-toe in the engine room. Homme played more with texture and layering sounds on his guitar, the first memorable riff showing up four songs into the set on “Dead End Friends.” His high vocals were often bolstered by harmonies from Grohl, [Queens alumnus Alain] Johannes and even Jones. There were a couple of red herrings: “Bandoliers” flirted with tenderness (Homme introduced it as a love song) and “Interlude w/ Ludes” came off as a prank, with Jones on keytar and a shimmying Homme in lounge-crooner mode. Otherwise, it was wrecking ball time, with the arrangements sometimes taking several turns before resolving.
We await what's next. For now, you can buy a $30 T-shirt, but no music yet.
-- Todd Martens
Photo: Dave Grohl in 2008. Credit: Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times