One of the new bright spots in rock music is on tour and when they came through Charlotte, I thought I needed to check them out. So, we bought tickets for the whole family as my kids enjoy them too. Now it is unusual that we all like the same band which made a perfect time for all of us to go see a show together.
That band is Greta Van Fleet. Yes, they catch a lot of heat for sounding so much like a former band that the press on that is old and we need to move on. I have their E.P.s and their lone album on vinyl and I dig everything they do. The question left for me…Can this band pull it off LIVE!!!??? If they can, they are real, legit and people should stop giving them a hard time. These guys are new in the industry and only in their early 20’s so this was a big question mark for me.
Before the show, I cheated and checked out the set list from some previous shows and I was very disappointed. They were only playing 10 shows!! They are the headliners…how can they only have 10 songs? I told my daughter the only way the can turn it in to a full show is that they are going to have to stretch these songs out way longer than they were done on the records.
Before we talk about how they did, let’s see the setlist…
- The Cold Wind
- Highway Tune
- Black Smoke Rising
- Edge of Darkness
- Flower Power
- You’re The One
- Age of Man
- Black Flag Exposition
- Watching Over
- When the Curtain Falls
- Safari Song (Encore & Drum Solo)
First thing you notice is that we actually got 11 songs…yeah a whole song more than some prior shows!!
Now, who are the guys in the band?
- Josh Kiszka – Lead Vocals
- Jake Kiszka – Lead Guitar
- Sam Kiszka – Bass Guitar
- Danny Wagner – Drums
Yes, the band consists of 3 brothers (Josh & Jake being twins – that look nothing alike).
Now we have all that out of the way, let’s talk about the show. The show was SOLD OUT!! The place was packed. They played at Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre and it was the first time I had been there where it didn’t rain!! Already starting out nice.
The opening act came on at 8pm. The band was a husband and wife duo named Ida Mae. You can read about them in THIS POST!
Greta came on at about 9:15 (which was probably 15 minutes slower than they should have). There was too long of a break between acts in my opinion (only negative).
They opened with “The Cold Wind” and let me tell you it was explosive! Josh’s vocals were spot on and DAMN, he can hit those high notes you hear on the records. It is amazing. He was showing off his musical screams and how long he could hold the notes all night. I was very impressed. The curly haired young man was running around that stage the whole show just working up the crowd and never missing a note. My wife even commented and how amazing he sounded. It was at times even better than the albums.
Jake though is the star for me. Where Josh worked and owned the crowd. Jake owned the STAGE! His guitar playing was unbelievable. His riffs were strong, his solos were mesmerizing and his stage presence was powerful and at such a young age. He had the spotlight in practically every song.
And yes, the band stretched all the songs out with some fantastic jam sessions. The best parts of the show. To see Sam thumping away at the bass, Jake ripping out the riffs and then Danny pounding his ass off on the drums was a sight to be seen. These kids are super talented musicians and the show harkened back to the old days of rock.
Don’t go to the show expecting to hear the song you hear on the radio…this ain’t the show for you. They re-interpret the songs and bring new life and imagination to them and they prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are real musicians and not a clone of the unnamed other band. The crowd was up on their feet the whole time screaming and enjoying every second of it just embracing the music. Speaking of crowd, it was funny how many Led Zeppelin there were. Don’t know why?? (kidding). The age of the crowd was from young kids up to old men…yes, even older than me!!
Around the middle of the set starting with “Flower Power”, Sam jumped off bass and got behind the Hammond Organ. Another throwback to the good ol’ days with John Lord on the Hammond with Deep Purple. It added a new level of excitement to the show for me. He played for several songs and even had a moment to shine with his own little organ solo. No, he isn’t a John Lord, but who the hell could be.
We did get a very special treat as they whipped out a new song called “Black Flag Exposition” which I believe will be on their new album coming later this year. I don’t remember it all that well as I didn’t recognize it, but I do remember they jammed their asses off for several minutes in the middle of the song.
Now, they capped off the evening with “Safari Song” after making the crowd wait for what seemed like an eternity for the encore. The cool thing is they did a Drum Solo in the middle of the encore. I can’t say I have ever seen that. Danny had to be exhausted at this point as he hits the drums with such ferociousness and was non-stop the whole show. His fills and drum parts were outstanding and perfectly timed. He was the driving force behind the band, no doubt. I can’t believe he had the energy at this point in the show to pound like he did. He was a beast all night long.
And there you have it. I didn’t go in to complete detail as it needs to be seen to be believed. I am a full on believer in them now. My oldest daughter was completely amazed out how impressive they played and I think she really loved all the jamming and that guitar playing by Jake…did I mention he is a force to be reckoned with. I see him becoming one of the best guitarists in rock music…if he isn’t already!! A young gun for sure!! If you get the chance…GO SEE THEM!!! You will NOT be disappointed!
If you would like to check out the review on the opening act Ida Mae…click HERE!