GRETA VAN FLEET / GOODBYE JUNE - Academy, Manchester 15.11.18
PHOTO CREDITS: SHANNON LANDERS PHOTOGRAPHY
The show was opened by GOODBYE JUNE. I went in relatively blind to watching them as I always find this a much better live experience. At the moment opening up for GRETA VAN FLEET is a suicide opening slot. You have a fiercely loyal fan base that is only there for one reason. The crowd were tepid but certainly supportive. It was difficult not to enjoy them, they were fresh and had something new about them. A standout track in their set was their poppier cut 'Daisy' which led me to go and purchase their records right after. I look forward to seeing this band do their own headline show.
Goodbye June are:-
Landon Milbourn – Lead Vocals / Guitar
Brandon Qualkenbush – Guitars (Rhythm / Bass) / Keys / Drums / Vocals
Tyler Baker – Lead Guitars / Vocals
GRETA VAN FLEET are the recipients of immense hype at the moment. They are riding a wave of popularity that is justifiably earned. They have the enigmatic frontman with a brilliant voice and a band supporting him with songwriting prowess beyond their years.
They have however been subject to a lot of hate too. For every 10 fans of them, there are 10 detractors, debunking their rise in a castaway comment of influence.
To this reviewer, they go beyond the sound of a particular 70's band.
I was teeming with excitement to watch this band live. I loved their double EP 'From The Fires' and I was extremely impressed by the young band's debut album, 'Anthem of the Peaceful Army'. Condescension isn't necessary however as they do seem to be articulate in their views and how they hold themselves. Batting away any negativity with grace and integrity.
The lads took to the stage with bravado and stormed into their breakout single 'Highway Tune'. This is the band I wanted to see. The crowd were roaring along with every high note singer Josh Kiszka managed to muster.
Within a couple of songs, I started to notice that the band seemed a little detached from their performance. Rarely engaging the audience and often looking beyond the crowd and at the ceiling. It felt like they were a band going through the motions and tonight was just another show on the endless cycle of touring. Of course, this is conjecture but some things aren't always that obvious. Josh later stated that the band had a bit of a rough day, ending up on the wrong train and ending up 2 hours away from Manchester.
The first signs of things to come came at the end of 'Flower Power', a personal favourite that I was glad to see in the set. They did an exquisite jam at the end of this song and it was a notable high point of the set... that was until every song after this was elongated and jammed out. 'Lover, Leaver, (Taker Believer)' turned into a mammoth 20-minute song of uninteresting repetition and pitiful dynamics. This was placed at the end of the set as if to be this immense ending but it fell very flat. They could have literally done 4 more songs and there are great cuts from the new record which could have given the set way more vitality.
They came back on for an encore, slamming into their classic 'Black Smoke Rising and quickly slipping into 'Safari Song' but yet again they elongated 'Safari Song' with incessant jamming and finished the gig with a drum solo. It was a very weird ending to a gig and left me bemused.
I feel GRETA VAN FLEET will grow and become immense players and songwriters to boot. I don't think their live performances share the wealth of maturity that their recorded material does just yet. They are touring relentlessly and it seems to be detaching them from reality. They are an amazing band and they deserve the success they are having but they could learn a thing or two from the greats about how to structure a set. 12 songs in 90 minutes... Not how it should be done. Pick a lane and nail it.
Greta Van Fleet are:-
Jake Kiszka – Guitars
Josh Kiszka – Vocals
Danny Wagner – Drums
Sam Kiszka – Bass / Keys
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