Eagles of Death Metal bring unabashed rock to HOB

A review of the Eagles of Death Metal at the House of Blues on August 4, 2009

, Contributing Writer

When the Eagles of Death Metal took the stage at the House of Blues on Tuesday night, they were dancing. This set the mood for an evening of classic rock revival.

Lead singer, Jesse Hughes, on this evening sporting a handlebar mustache and sunglasses, formed the band in 1998 with Josh Homme when they decided to find out what a cross between a metal band and the Eagles would sound like. Like his look, his band does represent exactly what you might expect this mix to be: hard rock, heavy but rootsy, brazen and straightforward, but with hints of subtly and humor.

Jesse Hughes strutted about the stage in a crazed frenzy, before shouting into the microphone “Are you ready to rock and roll, can you dig it?” And rock they did, blasting through Rolling Stones power-rock numbers like “Cherry Cola,” or the big choruses of “Secret Plans,” which recall the heyday of 70s classic rock, though without the flushed out instrumentation. Hughes belted out his rough-and-ready lyrics, mostly about women and having a good time, in a vocal style borrowed heavily from the grizzled grit of country. He was fired up the whole night, at one point stopping to admit, “I didn’t want to speak this early [in the set], but I’m glad to be back in the U.S.A.” (he later changed the lyrics of “English Girls” to “American Girls”).&

Layers of guitar solos emanated from David Catching’s “V” neck guitar, and Catching, who looks suspiciously like Mr. Six (the old man) from Six Flags commercials, was also amped up, at one point downing a beer that had been thrown onstage. In fact the crowd got so rowdy at one point that multiple people jumped on stage. The band handled it exactly how you’d hope a rock band would; as Hughes put it “that was some funny ass shit, you have to admit that”.

The band postured themselves in line within the showy tradition of rock, and at one point Hughes checked his appearance in Catching’s reflective guitar body, and Catching himself kept getting out his comb to fix his slight Mohawk. They brought a certain level of classic the rock fixture, sexual innuendo, and lines like Hughes address to a woman at the front of the crowd, “if I could buy you a drink it would be a cherry cola,” were common throughout the night.

The groups sound was tight and well-rounded, especially important given that classic rock, despite the tendency towards guitar antics, is a fairly democratic genre. Jose “the sexy-mexy” Castillo got plenty of time with the& cowbell and heavy hits on the tom, and bassist Brian “big hands” O’Connor got to weave his intricate bass lines along with more traditional root note playing, and all this fed the fuel for the slide guitar solos and barking vocals.& & &

In the end Eagles of Death Metal have a pretty simple premise: they want to rock, and they do it pretty well. Their riffs may not ever hit you in the way a classic Stones or Zeppelin riff, but that would be too much to ask for. If you’re looking for rock and roll, and all that comes with it, then Eagles of Death Metal is for you.

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