Greta Van Fleet Serve Notice They’ve Arrived at L.A. Viper Room Showcase [Recap + Photos]
Welcome to rock's bright future just getting started in the present with a sound reminiscent of the past. We're talking about Greta Van Fleet, the foursome from Frankenmuth, Mich., who are made up of three siblings -- Josh, Jake and Sam Kiszka -- and their school friend Danny Wagner. They've been rising up the charts with the song "Highway Tune," and they got their chance to showcase their talents in Los Angeles at the famous Viper Room Tuesday night (July 25).
While Josh Kiszka's eerily Robert Plant-esque vocals on "Highway Tune" have generated much of the early buzz on the group, this fearsome foursome got a chance to showcase so much more during their Viper Room set. Inspired by the British Invasion-era of acts that found something soulful and real in the blues and gave it their own stamp, Greta Van Fleet are following a similar path with undeniable licks, a flare for the well constructed jam and a no holds barred attitude when clicking on all cylinders.
The band came firing out of the gate with "Black Smoke Rising," a track that gets a bigger jolt of energy when played live. That Kiszka wail was on full display, with an early-era Jagger-esque shake as well. After a moody mid-song breakdown, this catchy track powered through to its conclusion with the band almost silhouetted in smokey white lighting, leaving quite the impression as the audience erupted enthusiastically. It was a special night for the group, and Josh Kiszka was beaming with a "happy to be here" smile for most of the evening.
The blissed out "Flower Power" came next. It's definitely one of the standouts of the band's recent Black Smoke Rising EP (available here), and it easily won over fans at the show, feeling like the missing jam from a stellar '70s mixtape. But with the joys of the mesmerizing jam coming to its end, Greta Van Fleet jolted the audience with "Edge of Darkness," arguably the performance highlight of the night. Jake Kiszka's guitar licks drew in the crowd right up at the front of the song and he later turned in some blistering axe work to the delight of the crowd. The song also provided a spotlight for Wagner, letting him exorcise some demons on the kit.
A newer track called "Talk on the Street" offered a catchier vibe, before the band pulled out their current single "Highway Tune" as showgoers mouthed along with the words and got their groove on in the audience. Finishing out their set and leaving the audience wanting more, Greta Van Fleet concluded the night on "Safari Song," riding the groove for all that it was worth. Wagner once again pounded away on the kit leading to the climactic finish of the track.
Simply put, while brief, the Viper Room show did exactly what it was supposed to do -- reaffirmed the belief in a bright future while allowing music fans to see that their live show has every shot to be as great or better than what you hear on record. Head here to find out where you can catch Greta Van Fleet on tour and look for them returning to L.A. with a headline show at the Troubadour on Oct. 19.
While many in the crowd were there to check out Greta Van Fleet, the Viper Room provided a great opener as well. Los Angeles-based Thunderpussy were the type of upbeat, raw rock and roll you'd want to help set the stage for what was to come. The female foursome have stage presence to spare, with singer Molly Sides and guitarist Whitney Petty grabbing most of the spotlight with their interplay. The sultry Sides played to the crowd, at times writhing onstage and later in the show hopping in the crowd and flirting with a few of the audience members. Meanwhile, Petty's guitar playing came to the forefront on several occasions during the band's set. But while Sides and Petty command your attention, bassist Leah Julius delivers some killer low end to songs while drummer Ruby Dunphy keeps things lively and powerful behind the kit. It all leads to one dynamic foursome. The ladies recently released the single "Velvet Noose," well worth checking out, and completed their set with their titular, punked-up, fan-favorite track "Thunderpussy." Keep up with the band's touring here.
Check out our photos of Greta Van Fleet and Thunderpussy at the Viper Room in Los Angeles in the gallery above.