(Review by JoJo-Anthony – Pictures by Joe Schaeffer)
Greta Van Fleet are Josh Kiszka – Vocals, Jake Kiszka – Guitar, Sam Kiszka – Bass/Hammond Organ and
Danny Wagner – Drums.
The first thing most music fans would say about Greta Van Fleet is that they sure sound a lot like a certain classic rock band. Well, more on that later...
Their performance at the sold out Troubadour show is evident that they have a fan base comprised of people ranging from teens to baby boomers.
First off, let's bring readers up to date on who exactly this young band is and how they acquired such an odd moniker. The band simply pulled a "Lynyrd Skynyrd" when selecting a name. They took it from a music instructor who lives in their hometown of Frankenmuth, Michigan.
In April of 2017, the band released an E.P. entitled "Black Smoke Rising" and immediately took to the road supporting one of my favorite new bands The Struts on handful of shows. They were soon voted Best New Artist on the Loudwire Music Awards.
Greta Van Fleet is a great band whose sound harkens back to those glorious days when Rock music was rooted in blues riffs, loud thunderous drumming and wailing vocals. Greta Van Fleet definitely has found a comfortable home amongst a legion of Classic Rock fans in desperate search of that "vintage sound" and a new generation of millennials who appreciate bands based on their musicianship and great songwriting. Opening their set with a blazing rocker "Talk on the Streets", Greta Van Fleet delivered a seventy minute twelve song set that was well paced and the audience seemed to grow more and more excited with every song. At times I felt I was watching a band that had a long history merely based on the audience reaction after each song. I was especially impressed with the band's ability to slow down the set with songs like "Flower Power" where guitarist Jake Kiszka picked up an acoustic guitar, while brother Sam accompanied him on the Hammond Organ. Vocalist Josh Kiszka has the voice to pull of the rockers and the slower compositions.
The band were also comfortable enough to simply "jam" and improvise on songs, never caring or worried if their music could ever accommodate Pop radio station formats. At times I felt I was at a concert back in 1975, when fans merely appreciated bands for their talent as opposed to their stage show and appearance. The band returned for a well deserved encore of their current single and video "Highway Tune" followed by my personal favorite track "Safari Song," which featured some amazing drumming from Danny Wagner.
All four musicians are very talented in their own right and they were obviously schooled on bands like Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith or the Yardbirds. Are the comparisons to Led Zeppelin that obvious? Possibly...but who the hell cares? What Greta Van Fleet offer up are merely great songs reminiscent of 70's rock acts, with the musicianship required to do so. I believe this band at this moment has yet to realize the magnitude of their impact on today's music.
Greta Van Fleet is a very young new band whose members range from 18-21 years of age. Can they get past the Zeppelin comparisons? I for one could care less. Only the baby boomers would be concerned with that as opposed to the numerous new young fans they have garnered. The band has developed a style of music and songwriting that is good and solid, and they've learned from the best.
I suggest that one pick up their forthcoming double E.P. “From the Fires”, that will be released on November 10th. The true test for this band is if their "inquisitive" fan base will actually take the time to purchase and support their recorded efforts. I know I sure will.
Talk on the Streets
Black Smoke Rising
Edge of Darkness
When the Cold Wind Blows
You're The One
Evil Is Goin' On (Howlin’ Wolf Cover)
Mountain of the Sun
Lover Leaver Taker Believer
The Official Website can be found here:
The full photo albums can be found here:
All Images © Joe Schaeffer Photography 2017