Super group Them Crooked Vultures kicks off ACL 2009
When the Beastie Boys dropped out of the Austin City Limits 2009 line up people were wondering what band would replace them. In come the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and then the announcement that Them Crooked Vultures will do an ACL Pre Show at Stubb's and a Friday October 2nd ACL set. If you are not familiar with Them Crooked Vultures you are not alone. They are drummer Dave Grohl (from Nirvana and Foo Fighters), John Paul Jones on bass and keyboards (Led Zeppelin) and Josh Homme on guitar (Queens of The Stone Ages).
Since I am not a music critic, but a photographer I will not go into the historical rock-n-roll nuances one can discuss for each of these phenomenal artists. This show at Stubb's was the Austin City Limits Festival Pre Show. The show was sold out weeks in advance. When I picked up my photo pass I was presented with a special photo release contract detailing the legal conditions for allowing me to take photographs. The audience was warned not to take pictures with their cell phones or they could be confiscated.
Although each of the band members has had a great career, it is amazing how this band with no CDs, downloads or concert tours can be so pretentious. I can only suppose that their marketing team has decided that secrecy breeds curiosity which in turn sells tickets! There were no less than fourteen photographers in the photo-pit, standing shoulder to shoulder two rows deep. We were allowed to take pictures for two songs, not the standard three songs and then we would have to leave the venue with our cameras.
Once the show started Dave Grohl gave an unbelievable show. His fantastic rhythms and unbelievable power as he pounds out the beats is both frightening and awesome. One day he is going to demolish one of his drums on stage with his brute force and energy. Maybe his drum sets are reinforced? Since they have not released any music on line or on CD it is very difficult to appreciate the songs. To hear something for the first time in a concert setting is not the most ideal and rewarding experience. My impression, and that of many other people I have talked to during the past few days, is that this group is way "over sold". You leave the show wondering whether you liked it or not which is truly a bad sign.
Maybe this "super group" will go the same way as other super groups and quietly disappear into the dark after spending millions of dollars on tours and promotions.
For the complete photo gallery go to:
Them Crooked Vultures
Photos by Manuel Nauta