Haters will tell you that Greta Van Fleet is nothing new. They’ll tell you that the young Michiganders are imitation specialists looking to reap the residual benefits of Led Zeppelin’s legacy. In some ways, those haters are right.
Watching a healthy mix of older folks enter the House of Blues in tie-dye Led Zeppelin shirts alongside a hoard of 20-somethings wearing essentially any classic rock tee led me to believe that these people weren’t looking for something new. They were looking for the rebirth of something they loved in a past life. Some may argue that the public’s yearning for classic rock bygones offers a market opportunity for Greta Van Fleet’s nostalgic brand. I’d argue just the opposite. Greta Van Fleet’s fledgling appeal to men and women of all ages practically begs them to form their own identity if they want to survive in the long term. Although I began to develop a skepticism about their longevity months after the release of their debut album From The Fires, Greta Van Fleet’s live set this past Monday gave me hope again. The overwhelming level of talent that these kids showed off with confidence assured that they are indeed the real deal.
The night started with CLOVES, a British artist who was truthfully lucky that the ecstatic crowd didn’t need much warming up. While her studio material is light and edgy, her live acoustics were frankly shoddy and boring. Her set seemed like the opening act for a talent show, displaying obviously rehearsed moments of phony grit but failing to follow through with a compelling performance for more than a song or two.
Greta Van Fleet however, was everything the crowd could have hoped for and more. Lead singer Josh Kiszka was the clearly the group’s main conceptual selling point, flexing his tenacious golden pipes at a boastful rate that made me question how he didn’t lose his voice in a matter of minutes. His supporting cast however, made the live set truly special. Guitarist Jake Kiszka flaunted otherworldly solo skills, at one point digressing into a solo after Edge of Darkness for an added 10 minutes of Rock n Roll splendor. Bassist Sam Kiszka exhibited a promising multi-instrumental capacity, particularly spending a few scattered minutes laying groundwork on the synth for several interludes. Even drummer Danny Wagner capped off the night with a 5+ minute solo in which he disregarded his drumsticks to slap the drums like they were bongos. All in all, emphasis was placed on individual AND collective performers, hoisting rock’s revival as the main star of the show.
Below is a sample of CLOVES music along with most of Greta Van Fleet’s set. Keep in mind that, as a brand new band, several of Greta Van Fleet’s covers and unreleased previews are unavailable to stream. In other words, this playlist is short and sweet!
Favorite Live Tracks: Edge Of Darkness, Highway Tune, Flower Power, Safari Song