When people have to resort to manufacturing facts to prove their ideas, you may as well have fun with it #3:
FAYETTEVILLE — Up and coming rock act Greta Van Fleet appeared at the Crown last weekend, with local band The Fifth opening for them, and 10,000 fans were very impressed. I, however, was not. I didn’t even go, because I didn’t see the point, but I’m reviewing it for you here.
The Fifth is a local band with a fairly large following. Greta Van Fleet is a Michigan band that is gaining a lot of fans because they sound a lot like Led Zeppelin. None of those facts I learned later was a compelling reason to go, because the whole charade represented a severe lapse in credibility. First off, The Fifth was the first band, and Greta Van Fleet was second. They were the only bands. How can the first band be the Fifth? How can a girl be second, but there’s no girl in the band? Where is this Greta person? The mind is ruffled just thinking about it.
As for “Greta Van Fleet,” as I stated. there’s not a girl in that band, so unless it’s a boy with a girl’s name, that band name is a complete fraud. No credibility there. If you can’t put your name on all three of your chords, it makes me suspicious of what you’re trying to sneak in on me sideways. There were some players in both bands who had a lot of girlish features, but there’s no one named Greta in either one of them, so I know my credibility alarm would be ringing like crazy by the time intermission was over and the…we’ll just call them The Second Band played. Why even listen to what they put to music?
Since I wasn’t there, I’ll cut and paste the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s review of a performance in Atlanta last month, but you won’t be able to tell, except I just did, so I guess you will. Nevermind. Just chalk it up to the well-orchestrated conspiracy of your choice. If it comes out typed all weird, that’s on them too. And probably the internets.
“With the stage shrouded in darkness, Greta Van Fleet singer Josh Kiszka tossed flowers into the crowd (a Mother’s Day gesture?) as the foursome crept behind their instruments.
The mostly sold-out crowd erupted as guitarist Jake Kiszka (Josh’s twin) tossed out the nasty lick of “Safari Song,” Josh nailed a patented wail and an overhead slab of lights illuminated the Fox Theatre with arena-worthy power.
While Greta Van Fleet has traveled Australia and Europe since January on this “March of the Peaceful Army” tour, the quartet is only three dates into the U.S. leg, which will bring them back to the Fox on Monday night for a second performance (a handful of tickets remain; British duo Ida Mae opens).
»»PHOTOS: See our gallery for more photos from the Greta Van Fleet show
At the close of “Safari,” as Josh’s left hand clutched the air as it would throughout the show, mesh-vest-clad drummer Danny Wagner rolled into a zippy drum break before the band broke into “Black Smoke Rising.”ADVERTISING
Ah, yes. What rock ‘n’ roll used to be – loud, mystical and sometimes even musically robust.
Greta Van Fleet is, of course, derivative of Led Zeppelin the same way The Struts pull from Queen and Leon Bridges found influence in Sam Cooke.
(The band’s moniker, in case you’re wondering, is a variation of the name of a resident from their native Frankenmuth, Mich.)
Maybe Josh Kiszka doesn’t intend to sound identical to a young Robert Plant – but he does, albeit a smiley, danger-devoid version (he also bears a physical resemblance to Roger Daltrey mixed with Gino Vannelli – look him up, kids). And while it would be ridiculous to impound that level of vocal talent, no doubt there are people who will never give Greta Van Fleet a fair assessment because of the similarities.
Their songs, while heavy on the blues-smeared rock of Zeppelin, also dabble in Allman-esque sounds as evidenced on “Flower Power”(bassist and organist Sam Kiszka, the youngest of the brothers, was a marvel as he hopped between instruments), as well as prog-rock-era Yes, as designed on “The Music is You” intro to “You’re the One.”
The rise of Greta Van Fleet might seem rapid, but the band has been gigging since 2012, with a live EP arriving in 2014. They released their full-length debut, “Anthem of the Peaceful Army,” in October, but claimed a best rock album Grammy Award in February for their 2017 EP, “From the Fires.”
They’ve also been greeted feverishly on the Billboard Mainstream Rock charts, with four singles – “Highway Tune,” “Safari Song,” “When the Curtain Falls” and “You’re the One” – hitting No. 1.
While their live show offered stunning lighting – even the dark stage backlit with a blue haze during “Black Flag Exposition” and the sea of dry ice and red lighting for “Watching Over” were mesmerizing – and the band’s instruments sounded rich and crisp, Josh’s vocals were frequently muddled, except, of course, for those heavens-reaching cries.
Greta Van Fleet is still at the infancy of its potential, and as the band grows, it will expand its musical palette.
But to unite graybeards, bell-bottomed hippies, college kids in surfer shorts and tweens in hoodies is commendable. And to do it with actual songs with hooks and choruses and guitar solos is a diminishing art that needs this resurrection.
Follow the AJC Music Scene on Facebook and Twitter.
About the Author
According to a coliseum schedule, Chevy Chase is supposed to appear for a show in July. This gives me pause. I want to know how a whole city from Maryland is going to be here. I’ve already decided I’m not going to like that one, and I don’t even need to see it first, but I don’t need to see stuff to know all about it, so be ready for that article.