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Gutter Twins, Joshua Homme & Eagles Of Death Metal At The Teragram Ballroom, Tuesday December 13th 2016

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‘It’s nice to do something nice, and tonight is something nice’, said Joshua Homme on Tuesday night at the Teragram Ballroom. We were in the middle of the third benefit show for Dave Rosser, the Afghan Whigs, Gutter Twins and Twilight Singers guitarist who has recently been diagnosed with inoperable colon cancer. Many of his friends and musicians have teamed up to help raise enough money to assist him for the expensive treatment he will need.

There are not enough words to describe how awesome this night was, it was a long night featuring The Gutter Twins, Queens of The Stone Age’s Joshua Homme solo and finally Eagles of Death Metal,… almost a lineup for a mini music festival. The Gutter Twins is a collaboration between Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegan, but Duff McKagan (who was obviously a guest star), Petra Haden (on strings) and a few others had also joined them, and this all-star cast was only the beginning. The Gutter Twins’ music was slowly installing darkness, with majestic guitars and vocals choruses sounding barely lighter than a Leonard Cohen song. It was certainly interesting in a profound and abysmal manner, as Dulli’s dark croon works perfectly for this type of material. I had never listened to ‘Saturnalia’, their album released in 2008, however the poignancy of the music took me by surprise, I immediately liked it and that they played in almost complete darkness (a bummer for photographers) added mystery to their lugubrious waltz or adventurous and atmospheric songs like the wild ride of ‘God’s Children’ or the seducing noir of ‘Live With Me’ — a Twilight Singers cover, sung by Lanegan’s dark baritone. It was a sort of carried-away experience, a hyper-layered symphony for the dead, as their voices seemed to be coming from beyond the grave. Another inconvenience (for people and especially for photographers) was the row of music stands they had put in front of them, which was obstructing the view. They certainly got very mysterious and dark, but of course Duff McKagan illuminated the set (only metaphorically because it was still very dark, as Mr. McKagan definitively didn’t want any good pics of him to be taken) during a few covers like ‘You Can’t Put Your Arms Round A Memory’. They rocked the venue, soon metamorphosing the mood with another beyond-the-grave bummer haunted by Lanegan-Dulli doom duet, ‘We Have Met Before’, Dulli aching all over the place, and ending with Haden’ eerie croon, during ‘Number Nine’… What can I say, it was beautiful, velvety and sumptuous.

If they kept their distance from the audience, it was the opposite during Joshua Homme’s intimate set. The whole thing was such a treat, he was acting like a stand up, incessantly joking with the crowd, sipping from his vodka bottle, and he got very funny. Now it’s always a delight to listen to stripped-down versions of loud rock songs, especially with Homme’s fantastic and versatile falsetto, but he looked so at ease, strumming his strings with his typical mix of confidence and humbleness. ‘I haven’t really done anything yet’, he said in the middle of the first song (QOTSA’s ‘Long Slow Goodbye’) when people were already cheering up very loudly… ‘But I appreciate the enthusiasm’. He covered ‘Spinning in Daffodils’ of his super group Them Crooked Vultures, something a bit special and fully appreciated by the crowd. And the whole set was truly special as he played a new song ‘Villains of Circumstance’, with a big falsetto-driven hooky chorus, which got acclaimed with so much enthusiasm by the crowd that Joshua joked, ‘It’s not that fucking new apparently, someone has been living in my house’. Matt Sweeney came on stage for three covers, the surprising and sweet Dean Martin’s ‘Memories Are Made of This’, Johnny Cash’s ‘Dark as a Dungeon’ and Cab Calloway’s ‘Minnie the Moocher’, with much crowd participation for this last one… everything was sweet and extremely laid back, Joshua was talking a lot, dropping one F-bomb after another one but he soon noticed the presence of an 11-year-old in the front… ‘You had to bring him, didn’t you?’ he told the parents. There were many more jokes at Diego (the kid) and his parents expense, I guess Diego felt like a star and Joshua was a riot… ‘It’s not a music show anymore, it’s a comedy show,’ he said and it truly was.

Then it was Eagles of Death Metal’s time, the headliners, and the full rockers of the night. I had seen them a very long time ago, but I hadn’t imagined they had become such rock stars, they were acclaimed like some and shook the house to the bones. Think what you want of Jesse Hughes — the controversies, his move to the right political spectrum (which didn’t prevent his good friend Joshua Homme to say ‘fuck Trump’), his love for guns — this man feels rock & roll through his whole body and soul, he is not faking it a second, and the show was a manic experience, loud and hard like any rock show should be.

They were so loud and fast that songs like ‘The Reverend’ had Stooges chaotic accents with a few more cowbells, whereas other songs, like ‘Complexity’ and ‘Love You All the Time’ had this obvious playful and light-hearted side. EODM are a garage rock band played to the maximum volume with a joke-y schtick as Jesse Hughes often looks like a priest preaching life-savior-soul-searching rock & roll gospel, while I though this was only the Boss’s exclusive job. The guitars roared and managed to follow Hughes’ devilish amphetamine-fueled moves, but I have to say that Dave Catching can do no wrong on guitar, that solo during the Bowie’s cover of ‘Moonage Daydream’ was an epic piece of rock history resurrected in front of our starry eyes. While the band bursts into successive rock melodies and piles riffs over riffs, Catching, with his long white beard, looked like the Santa Claus of music, while Hughes was his theatrical sidekick, born again in rock & roll, doing a few costume changes during the show – his gold bomber with Bowie written in the back was a stunner. He blew up kisses to the audience, and if he was a bit less talkative than his friend Joshua (who joined him on drums for the last song), he was deeply involved with the people around him.

The whole set was truly enjoyable, shaking all senses, making you believe in the beauty of rock & roll, bringing pure pleasure and emotion on people’s faces…I wonder how many people in the audience had a thought for the ones who were killed in Paris during this exact same experience one year ago… I have to admit it, it crossed my mind once, then I completely forgot about it, possessed by the frenzy of the show

 

Setlists

Gutter Twins
Belles
The Stations
Spanish doors
God’s children
Live with me
We have met Before
You Can’t Put Your Arms Round A Memory
It’s so Easy
Number Nine

Joshua Homme
Long Slow Goodbye – Queens of the Stone Age
Spinning in Daffodils – Vultures
Villains of Circumstance
with Matt Sweeney
Memories Are Made of This (Dean Martin song)
Dark as a Dungeon (Johnny Cash version of the song)
Minnie the Moocher (Cab Calloway song)

EODM
I Only Want You
The Reverend
Complexity
Whorehoppin’
Silverlake
Save a Prayer
Cherry Cola
Wanna Be in LA
Love You All the Time
Moonage Daydream
Boys Bad News
Make a Bang
Speaking in Tongues

More pictures, here, here and here.

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Joshua Homme

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Jesse Hughes

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