Greta Van Fleet Philadelphia, PA @ The Met – 12/30/2019
So I know some of you loyal readers are already saying, “Not metal!” with foam coming out of your mouth. And maybe you’re right, they’re not metal. But then there’s also this: Greta Van Fleet are really, really good and there’s an awful lot for metal fans to really love here.
First, the musicianship. These guys are young, no doubt. But they play their instruments so well, and so well together – which is not easy for even many veteran bands to do. Their singer, Josh Kiszka, has incredible range and does a fine job on the live performance, often matching what he does on the record. Not an easy task when he’s channeling his inner Robert Plant…
… Speaking of Robert Plan… so yeah, these guys sound a lot like Led Zeppelin. The bass player also plays the keys similar to John Paul Jones and Josh even speaks with a type of British accent, though he hails from Michigan. (Hmmmm… Madonna anyone?) The drummer has watched a John Bonham video or three… So there’s some real heavy Led Zep worship here and I can understand that people in my generation (Gen X) are a bit turned off by this. Perhaps it’s because we grew up in the time that classic rock dominated the airwaves, and with no Sirius XM or internet, you were basically stuck listening to classic rock radio 24/7 unless you were lucky enough to have a working tape deck. Heck, my family didn’t get a car with a tape deck until the 90’s and even then it generally sucked. So we listened to Zeppelin, The Who and the Stones ad nauseam. Occasionally, stations would throw metal fans a bone like “Iron Man” or “Paranoid” from Sabbath, but that was pushing it. Of course, the 90’s happened, and then it was Pearl Jam every third song, which meant it was time to run to the hills and invest in the auto CD player.
But what it comes down to is that many in my generation are rather tired of Led Zeppelin and not particularly interested in that type of music anymore. We’ve moved on. However, as the scores of young people at the Greta Van Fleet demonstrated, there are many folks who are first discovering this type of classic rock for the very first time, and while gruff forty-somethings like myself might be over this sound, one can easily see how today’s 17 and 18 years are able to embrace a real heavy rock band with honest musicians who grasp the blues better than any new band in the past two decades. Greta Van Fleet bring heart, honesty and energy to a generation that is basically marketed pre-fabricated crap from a wealth of pop “artists” with little to no discernible talent or skill when the producer is out of the room.
There were indeed many young, excited fans up against the rail, many of which stood there for an awfully long time waiting for the band to arrive on the stage. Now, the Met is beautiful and painfully restored. (You can see the Met before restoration in the film 12 Monkeys) There’s a lot of space there and they didn’t oversell the GA, so it wasn’t terrible. Of course, when Josh came out with flowers to toss out the audience, it was certainly a bit of a scrum – yet a polite scrum. There were many parents with children in the GA section and a couple of members of the pre-teen set right up against the barricade. The reserved seating section seemed to be filled with people who looked a bit more like me.
I must admit, I had a great time watching these guys. So while this band gets a ton of internet hate on the metal sites (who doesn’t these days), there’s a lot to really love here. If you get the chance, check them out. I’m glad I did.
“Black Smoke Rising”