Greta Van Fleet RBC Bluesfest, Ottawa ON, July 10
Published Jul 11, 2018On the surface, Greta Van Fleet — the Michigan-bred, four-piece rock band — look like the kind of thing David Fricke dreams about.
They are, as one nearby onlooker accurately pointed out, "ridiculous" — a heady concoction of skin-tight jeans, kimonos, feathers and vests. They seem allergic to T-shirts, with each one covering up their lack of chest hair (the band is comprised of three brothers and a friend, two of which are still teenagers) with either a medallion, necklace or both. And, thanks to fellow rock revivalists the Followill brothers, the whole sibling thing almost seems like a gimmick.
But none of that really matters, because — and no offense to the members of Train — as soon as you hear Josh Kiszka's banshee-like wail, brother Jake's filthy licks, Sam's strutting bass lines and Danny Wagner's gargantuan drumming, it doesn't take long to come to the same realization everyone else eventually does: these guys are the second-coming of Led Zeppelin. (Even the surviving members of the band agree — Robert Plant and Jimmy Page have both given them daps.)
Greta Van Fleet deal in the kind of classic rock sounds that are uncool these days, but it's hard for even the staunchest modern music fan not to fall in love with them.
As the band ripped through their Ottawa Bluesfest set, it was hard not to notice friends high-fiving each other, people giggling hysterically, and one grown man (who was too old to be doing this) air drumming while sitting on the shoulders of a friend.
Their latest record, Black Smoke Rising — a collection of four recent songs, and four others from their debut EP — isn't a hit yet, but the band certainly act like it is, playing with a confidence normally saved for acts twice their age.
With only a handful of songs under their belt, their Tuesday evening set — opening for the Foo Fighters — was filled with meandering solos that showed off their skills and casually cool theatrics (behind-the-back guitar playing and drum solos, anyone?). But the majority of the audience remained captivated, even when gusts of wind twisted the stacks so far from side-to-side that the mid-to-high tones would cut out, depending on where you were standing.
If anyone wasn't a fan already, they were by the end of their set, with the band laying down pummelling renditions of their new EP's title track, as well as opener "Safari Song." Judging by the amount of people sporting not one, but two of the band's official T-shirts over their shoulders after the set, it won't be long until Greta Van Fleet return to Bluesfest as bona fide headliners.
Order Black Smoke Rising on vinyl via Umusic here.