Greta Van Fleet
Thursday 15th November
Michigan four-piece Greta Van Fleet hit the north with their full-on rock extravaganza at Manchester’s Academy on Thursday night. Lee Ashworth was there to see the show with photography by Melanie Smith.
Few can be in any doubt of who Greta Van Fleet are in the music business today. Currently touring their debut album, Anthem of the Peaceful Army, they are the band currently favoured to achieve the kind of fame and sales figures typified by the rock titans within whose lineage they would hope to be included.
There is no doubt that the band, comprising of three brothers, are immensely talented musicians and some virtuoso guitar chops are on display tonight: in 3D, ultra – high definition. Songs are teased out through disparate incantations of guitar notes, drum rolls and bass scales before their whole enormity is unfurled, draped across the stage and the audience like a gigantic sonic cloak.
Lead singer Josh Kiszka summons the audience to join the ceremony, bare arms aloft and fingers outstretched to the Gods of rock in the ether above. Garlanded with outsized feathery necklace, his higher vocal pitch is evocative of Robert Plant and the set list tonight, featuring Highway Tune, Cold Wind and Edge of Darkness in the opening section, certainly evokes the hulking shadow of Zeppelin hovering over proceedings.
Certainly during the opening numbers, it is brother Jake on guitar who is firmly to the fore, channeling mid period Page-esque rock rhythms underpinned by the solid infrastructure of Sam Kiszka on bass and the formidable might of Danny Wagner’s drums. Accolades and attributes are already pouring in for the man on the skins and perhaps rightfully so. The percussion is played as though it is a lead instrument during some parts of tonight’s set.
In songs such as Flower Power, the keyboards are more prominent and layers of richness and depth take Van Fleet’s burgeoning repertoire through more textured nuances. The audience respond with rapture as the set builds against a dazzling backdrop of lime green lighting and dry ice. .
Perhaps the relationship between this young band and their audience is most striking tonight. The Academy is sold out and bursting at the seams. By the time the band make their 9:15 show time, the sense of expectation and excitement is overwhelming. For a band so early in their career to have already built such a rapport with their followers bodes well indeed. Are Greta Van Fleet destined for the pantheon of rock?
Review by Lee Ashworth
Photography Melanie Smith – www.mudkissphotograpy.co.uk