Eagles of Death Metal at Underground Arts, Philadelphia, PA, September 14, 2015 | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Photo: Matt Caltabiano

Eagles of Death Metal

Eagles of Death Metal at Underground Arts, Philadelphia, PA, September 14, 2015,

Sep 18, 2015 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Eagles of Death Metal don’t so much play a show as put on a party. And the band’s gig in Philadelphia on Monday night-a most un-party night of the week, mind you-was no different. Let’s get something out of the way at the outset. Eagles of Death Metal, the duo of Jesse Hughes and Queens of the Stone Age front-rocker Josh Homme, does not often tour as it records, and while Homme provides much allure to the project as half of its songwriting/recording combo, he does not necessarily tour with them, and he was not in Philadelphia on this night. However, this did not in any way diminish the draw, the show, or the excitement.

Consider this. While Homme was absent, the following were present: a skinny boy in short shorts and a shirt depicting the universe, a hippie in a Moe t-shirt trying in vain to assess the event’s “vibe,” a lady inexplicably waving a cane in the air to the music, a middle aged couple boasting of their dating exploits soundtracked by EODM’s second album, 2006’s Death By Sexy, and a Klingon skulking the crowd with an onlooking Princess Leia, both eagerly anticipating the bizarre post-set burlesque show that just happened to be occurring at the venue. Monday night in Philadelphia was a party to beat all others.

After an intro of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Born on the Bayou,” Hughes entered with his band of guitarist David Catching, bassist Matt McJunkins, and drummer Jeff Friedl, and launched into “Bad Dream Mama” from EODM’s 2004 debut, Peace Love Death Metal, and “Don’t Speak (I Came To Make A Bang!)” from the beautifully raunchy Death By Sexy. The crowd was immediately whipped into a frenzy. Keen to capitalize, Hughes cut an impressive stage presence, starting into a revved up Southern preacher-esque revival schtick, saying he felt ill and went to the doctor, who said he should quit rock and roll. “Medical Science proclaimed there would be no Eagles of Death Metal,” Hughes testified, in a monologue that really should be transcribed here in all caps, “but here I am!” And after the sweet danceable rave, “Complexity,” from EODM’s upcoming album, Zipper Down, he begged, “Don’t act like you don’t know me tomorrow morning.”

After Hughes and his band of rock and roll animals fired away tracks “Whorehoppin’ (Shit, Goddamn),” with its perfectly poetic chorus of “I said, shit, goddamn, I’m a man!” and Zipper Down‘s “Got a Woman,” an audience member offered that it was his birthday. After being asked how old he was and answering 19, the band predictably swung back into high gear for Death By Sexy‘s “I Gotta Feelin (Just Nineteen),” guitarist Catching, with giant white Santa Claus beard, shredding on his Flying V guitar.

Opener Jesika von Rabbit, of Gram Rabbit (whose own set seemed a bit too avant garde for the EODM crowd in attendance) joined the band for “Cherry Cola,” and Hughes and company closed the set proper with another new song “Silverlake (K.S.O.F.M.)” and a pair from Death By Sexy (“I Like To Move in the Night” and “I Want You So Hard (Boy’s Bad News)”).

Still, although some in the crowd, this reviewer included, seemed already exhausted by the high octane of the band’s furious 12 previous songs, the best was yet to come. For the encore, Hughes came out alone, solo with acoustic guitar, lighting into The Stanley Brothers’ “Stone Walls and Steel Bars,” transforming his randy rock and roll hillbilly into the prefect approximation of boot-stompin’ bluegrass badass. After continuing with an acoustic version of EODM’s “San Berdoo Sunburn,” Hughes stayed solo but turned electric for inspired run-throughs of “Kiss the Devil” and a cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Brown Sugar,” both which thrilled beyond compare.

Finally, the band came back out to end the night with “Wannabe in L.A.” from 2008’s Heart On and the first two tracks from EODM’s debut, “I Only Want You” and “Speaking in Tongues,” the latter which included a crazy electric guitar solo battle featuring a blindfolded Hughes. By the end of the night, the crowd had been chewed up, spit out, and spent by rock and roll. Just like it should be. Like a perfect party.



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