• Naomi Sanders

Greta Van Fleet + support at O2 Institute Birmingham, 02/04/2018

Birmingham: a well known city amongst the rock and metal communities. Birthplace of Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, and half of Led Zeppelin; seems perfect that tonight would feature a band that has grown to prominence in the US by recapturing that early ‘70s rock sound. But how did Michigan group Greta Van Fleet stand against this UK crowd?

First to perform were London’s The Second Sons, another band that embodied the late ‘60s/early ‘70s sound. Whilst the songs they performed sounded good, and there is a lot of talent within the band, especially from the bassist, there’s still an element of imitation within their stage presence. They interacted well with the audience, but their performance was very reminiscent of The Rolling Stones, especially in the way the vocalist moved around on stage. They’re not a bad band, but they do need to find their own style and way to present their sound. Other than that, not a bad way to open the show.

Then came Greta Van Fleet. Opening with their first hit, “Highway Tune”, they showed that they were not to be messed with as soon as guitarist Jake Kiszka played the opening riff, and vocalist Josh Kiszka belted that first note. Whilst they have been compared to Led Zeppelin a lot in recent media, this performance showed that they can be more than that, not just in the development in their sound, but also in their performances. They’re the type of band that you can watch all day, and still be mesmerised by their talents. Even as they showed their skill with more folkier tracks like “Flower Power”, where bassist Sam Kiszka shows his talent on the Hammond keyboard as well, in addition to their covers like “Evil”, originally by Howlin’ Wolf, they’ve shown that they have more to their repertoire. And not just with Josh’s vocal acrobatics, but also with Sam’s keyboard solo at the end of “Flower Power”, Jake’s many fantastic solos, including performing with his guitar behind his back, and a jaw-dropping drum solo from Danny Wagner to finish off the encore, it shows that not only are they all talented musicians in their own right, but they’re able to bring those talents together to create the sound and power that is Greta Van Fleet.

Overall, this was a night not to be forgotten. This band are on to better and greater things, and we can only hold our breath on what to expect from them next. If you get the chance to see this band, take it, for who knows how long they will be able to play in small venues as their audience continues to grow.

Greta Van Fleet are currently on tour!

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