ACL ‘09 Performance Review: Them Crooked Vultures
As expected, Them Crooked Vultures drew a huge crowd to the Xbox 360 stage for their first major festival performance. For me, the experience satisfied my deepest desires for rock n’ roll nirvana but left me disappointed at the physical presentation of such a potentially awesome collaboration. Both the sound and the stage seemed cramped for such a loud act. Them Crooked Vultures held one of the most awkward time slots at the festival. Their superstar talent made them popular enough to require a later time slot but their relative obscurity denied them the larger stage and sonic firepower they deserved. The result was an awe inspiring display of technical proficiency from some of the masters of rock n’ roll that left you desperate for that last bit of fidelity and volume to make your ears bleed. Each song gave the musicians ample room to showcase their skills with John Paul Jones and Dave Grohl commanding attention for all of their solos. As with most festival acts the last few songs really started to swing and I got a feeling of what these guys can deliver. Their signature song “Scumbag Blues” is a perfect combination of grunge and blues and let John Paul Jones deliver some epic lines on the bass guitar. The performance was great but the environment left me wanting more. For starters I needed to be closer. I was about half way back and couldn’t enjoy the full sonic experience. But I still felt that these guys deserved the big stage and big sound that this festival can provide. I’m glad I saw Them Crooked Vultures, but next time I want to be closer and I want to feels the walls shake around me from the fury of John Paul Jones’ bass.