By at 12:28 PM Friday, October 2nd 2009


Them Crooked Vultures Arrive Before The Storm

Them Crooked Vultures, Shows


The term supergroup is about as shit-cheesy as the name Chickenfoot and should likewise be rejected outright. That being said, whatever words are being used to describe the perfect storm of Rock that is Them Crooked Vultures certainly don’t do the band justice.

Them Crooked Vultures - Stubbs 10-1-2009

We arrived in Texas for the Austin City Limits festival yesterday in time to catch the warm-up club gig by Them Crooked Vultures, which also served as the opener for the band’s North American tour. Sweaty, crammed bodies in the sweltering Southern heat throbbed in understandable shit-grinning awe as Josh Homme, Dave Grohl, John Paul Jones and Alain Johannes ripped through a thirteen-song set that stretched nearly ninety minutes and was packed with more swagger, groove and all-out pounding Rock assault than anyone had dared to expect.

The crowd was a roaring beast of approval from the moment the band first appeared onstage, but the reactions intensified exponentially when it became clear that the sum of the band’s immensely impressive individual parts transcends any possible expectation.

As for the songs themselves, there was zero filler, zero beer-break ballads. Every moment of every song was somehow captivating, whether it was Jones rocking a 12-string bass as Homme shredded a squealing solo, or Grohl giving his drums a beating like they’ve never seen before. The band reveled in the fact that the crowd had no idea what the hell they were in for, making good on our trust at every given opportunity. Daffodils featured a beautiful keyboard outro by Jones, who then strapped on a keytar for Interlude w/Ludes, a sex-lounge jam that found frontman Homme trading his guitar for seductive poses all across the stage. Reptiles followed, a definite show highlight that brought the group in a tight circle around Dave’s kit, riding tight through several false endings, sharp turns and mindblowing rhythmic interactions through the course of what felt like twenty minutes.

Another highlight was Scumbag Blues, an extended, slutty number that was nearly as memorable for Grohl’s absolutely primal kit-beatings and unabashed eye-fucking of John Paul Jones than for the music itself. It’s evident just from his expressions that every show Grohl plays with the band may as well be Christmas morning for the guy. The gathering is literally a dream come true for the Foo Fighters frontman. Hell, he’s got dead Zeppelin drummer John Bonham’s Zoso symbol tattooed on his wrist, so there’s no question of his respect for JPJ’s history.

You’re reading this on an internet music site. A blog. So I understand that by default the hyperbole shields are up at full power, especially given that this new project is the darling of every music outlet in existence – but there are simply not enough good things to say about this band. Sure, the shitty YouTube clips are great, and give at least an indication of what to expect. But at full volume, free of digital confines and compression, Them Crooked Vultures are without question the most exciting live act making the rounds today. And before anyone starts naming better guitarists or other Led Zeppelin members they’d rather fellate, what earns TCV that title is the multitude of sonic surprises, the stop-starts, the changes and time signatures that are near-impossible to follow, but not to the point of getting lost in a musical labyrinth.

Look for a reason to bitch, about any show, and you’re bound to find something. But for people who are as hopeless in their addiction to great music as we are, just trust us on this one. This band is fucking amazing.

TCV Stubbs setlist

Band photo credit: Craig Hlavaty


Meanwhile, On The Internet...

  1. zoopster says:

    Goddamnit I can’t wait for this to hit! I have been practically salivating for this music. I seriously hope they come to the L.A. area on this tour….. I will just have to travel to see them if they don’t. I need this shit in my ears and veins……

  2. tng/dharma69 says:

    Alain Johannes was there, too? The supergroupism is a little annoying, as annoying to me as Dead Weather, but I can dig this desert/classic rock, testosterone-driven mash up. Looks like your ACL experience is off to a great start…except for that sh*tting beef jerky thing.

  3. zoopster says:

    I didn’t know they were taping an Austin City Limits episode! Sweet!

    Here’s a link to two good video clips of JPJ and Dave Grohl talking about TCV:

  4. WOW, Interlude w/ Ludes and Reptiles. Never seen any of those on shitty YouTube videos.

    Can hardly wait for this fucking album.

  5. zoopster says:

    sorry, totally off topic, but I thought it might warrant a mention for our friends in Austin if they hadn’t heard of this: From

    Austin City Limits will tape a performance by Pearl Jam on Saturday, October 3. Our studio capacity is too limited to meet the demands for this taping and we didn’t want our loyal blog readers to miss out on it so we’re video streaming the live recording direct from our studio to fans in the Hogg Memorial Auditorium.

    We’ll be giving away tickets to the simulcast at noon on Friday, October 2, at KLRU-TV (map to KLRU ). Tickets will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis, four (4) per person limit until supplies run out. We’ll be giving away more than 400 tickets to the simulcast, so bring your friends.

    Remember, this is not to the studio taping, but to the simulcast party. Doors will open at 7 p.m. and the screening will start at 8 p.m. Hogg Memorial Auditorium is located on the University of Texas campus.

  6. Kevin Lee says:

    Seeing these guys Monday night in Nashville. Seriously can’t wait for this and with Robert Plant in town recording his 2nd album with Allison Krauss who knows what could happen.

  7. zoopster says:

    The only way they could get any better is if Robert Plant joined TCV onstage. The universe as we know it would implode…….and. that. would. be. awesome.

  8. Rory says:

    Thanks for jacking me up even more for the two shows I’m seeing next week. Good write up.

  9. Kevin Lee says:

    That is exactly what I’m hoping for zoopster. I’ll post a review under this topic sometime Tuesday.

  10. jpbertra says:

    I cant wait to see them in Ohio on Tuesday!!

  11. Doug says:

    I love it that you capitalize the ‘R’ in Rock!! i assume it just happens that way!!!

  12. excentric says:

    Just saw TCV tonight at the festival and it wasn’t near the set that you got last night! Amazing… I have to say that the band really had it together and that there was something magical about not knowing what’s next!

    I actually believe that these guys WILL stand up to a lot of hype. That’s just my $.02

  13. dan says:

    THANK YOU. Finally a review that makes sense. I saw the Stubbs show and it blew my mind. Too many reviews focus on the weight of stardom in TCV, but the focus of the ARTISTS is to put on a fun, entertaining show that they created having fun for 8 months during secret jam sessions. These guys are sharing their good times, bridging fan bases (which for me is a huge wet dream), creating epic JAMS, and giving everything they have individually at the same time. Simply: amazing.

  14. TheTuneFreak says:

    I have tickets for the show in Boston and reading this makes it hard to wait… Holy CRAP if they live up to this article live they’ll need to carry me out on a stretcher!

  15. Mr Reinhart says:

    They ended the set with Warsaw. Does anybody know if it is a cover of the early Joy Divison (Warsaw) song?

  16. Yes, I do, and no, it’s not.

  17. Kevin Lee says:

    Just got back from Nashville show. Ears ringing, mind blown, sleep needed. More to come.

  18. Skwerl says:

    gunman is a hot fuckin’ jam.

  19. SAL says:

    Interlude W/ Ludes was the song that knocked me off my feet that night. Best show I’ve seen in ages.

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