I am a firm believer that music finds you when you are mentally ready for it. I just recently discovered the whole Hip Hop genre. I never realized that Flavor Flav had a legitimate career before resident weirdo on VH1.
Eagles of Death Metal would fit nicely into this category. All my friends went ape shit when Death By Sexy came out in 2005. For some reason I just couldn’t get into the album and pushed the CD to the back of a large tower of discs only to discover it again about six months ago. While I was cleaning out my collection, the disc was in my stack of "listen again before selling."
Whatever the reason, I was completely ready to give EoDM my full attention. The first three tracks are pure Rock & Roll and the disc as a whole is very strong. I have since given some time to their other albums Peace Love and Death Metal and Heart On. Needless to say, I was pumped when I saw that the band would be making a stop at the 20th Century Theatre.
On that note I wanted to give two big thank you’s before I get to the review. Morella, Sean, Ian and everyone over at Nederlander Entertainment have been doing an amazing job with the shows they have been bringing into town (such as Ryan Adams, Black Keys, EoDM and Ray LaMontagne). Plus I love that they are bringing more acts into the 20th Century. There are so many under-used facilities in the area and it is nice to see that they can be booked and the right band can sell out the venue. Secondly, I want to thank Rob and Jaime from Dayton. Rob was kind enough to give me his spot at the front corner of the stage for a good part of the show. He just volunteered it! It made my job as a photographer a whole lot easier. Since more people are recognizing me as the guy with two ginormous cameras, I wanted to say that I am not trying to ruin anyone’s night.
Jesse Hughes and crew arrive on stage to uproarious applause. Jesse announced that he had a temperature of 103 and that they debated canceling the show. He quickly nixed the idea because the crowd needed this performance and later admitted that the band really needed the show and the audience’s energy. Despite the fever, Jesse quickly found his stage presence and was all over the stage winking and nodding to the “babies” in the audience.
I have seen a lot of singers and Jesse has to be one of the most charismatic frontmen I have ever seen. This guy can whip the crowd into hysteria just by giving a coy wave and wink. I don’t feel like going to work when I have a cold and this guy had a sold-out crowd eating out of his hand. As the band finished an awesome version of "Don’t Speak" (I came to make a BANG!), the second song of the show, the power blew in the venue. The crowd ate this up and, of course, the band use this little mishap for all it is worth.
The set list has a nice blend of old and new songs. The crowd seems most receptive to "Wanna Be in L.A." and "Anything ‘Cept the Truth," both off last year’s Heart On. The highlight for this writer was the singing of "Happy Birthday" to Bridgette on her 21st. This of course leads into a great version of "I Got a Feelin' (Just Nineteen)." The best of the whole night was knowing that the band really loved what they do for a living and really wanted to play tonight. Jesse repeatedly thanked the crowd for coming and you can tell that he genuinely meant it. It is nice to know that people want to play in your town!
If you read Ryan McLendon’s preview feature earlier in the week you know all about the spat between EoDM and Guns ’N' Roses. Not that I needed a lot of proof, but Axl Rose is completely dead wrong about this band. This is the most fun I have had at a show in the last two years. I have seen some of my favorite performers during this period, but none compare to the all-out excitement and joy I had at the show last night. This was ass-shakin' Rock & Roll at it’s finest. I am so glad that my wife made me clean my CD collection!
(Check out some of Keith's pics from the show here.)