Photos and review by Michael Hurcomb - Staff Photographer club.kingsnake.com
What a difference a few months make. 7 months ago the new supergroup Them Crooked Vultures played to a sold out crowd at Toronto's Sound Academy. Sold out being around 3,000 people which is pretty good considering their debut CD release was a month away and only some song clips had been heard at that point. What brought 3,000 people to a club was the chance to see legends - John Paul Jones, Dave Grohl and Josh Homme. The intimacy of a club coupled with the thunder they created was an unbelievable experience. But what happens if you put the same band in a stadium holding 12,000 die hard fans? You get almost the same experience but not quite as magical. Why?
Well it certainly has nothing to do with musicianship. They rhythm section have aged a year since their last Toronto show (Grohl recently turned 41 and JPJ 66) and play at a level unattainable by any musician in their 20's. And Josh "Ginger Elvis" Homme is a great vocalist and guitar player, albeit an occasionally awkward lead singer. These guys really play off each other and enjoy every second of it. They're a much tighter unit than they were when they began the tour and are much more comfortable with the songs. But the songs are the problem. In a club this type of jam band material works. The crowd is at your feet and it creates an energy in the room. But when you drop the same few guys onto a blank stage (with bad sound) and the same club light show they just seem lost. These aren't stadium anthems that the crowd stomps their feet to and sings along. Them Crooked Vultures play and you watch in awe but don't feel as engaged. Don't get me wrong; this is fantastic material and the two new songs they played show the promise of what will come from their followup CD. Being a photographer I was thrilled to be down front when they started the show with "Nobody Loves You and Neither Do I" (Best on the CD in my opinion) but it might have been better used toward the end of the show to bring the crowd to their feet.
Them Crooked Vultures are still an act you need to see and not just hear on a CD or on the radio. No one plays or sounds like them right now and that's saying a lot. See them while you can because their day jobs (Foo Fighters / QOTSA) will steal them away soon enough.