GRETA VAN FLEET’S ex­tra­or­di­nary rise con­tin­ues as they hit a new, elec­tri­fy­ing peak in Manch­ester…

Kerrang! (UK) - - News -

If Greta Van Fleet’s rise has been me­te­oric, then they are the Usain Bolt of me­te­ors. With their An­them Of The Peace­ful Army de­but al­bum barely a month old, the band of broth­ers have by­passed all that te­dious slog­ging through in­creas­ingly ca­pa­cious bars and headed straight for some­thing big. Okay, there was a brief UK jaunt ear­lier in the year, but even that de­but head­liner saw them sell­ing out and bump­ing up venue sizes on the strength of a cou­ple of EPS and a rep­u­ta­tion. Tonight’s show at the 2,600-ca­pac­ity Academy fol­lows a whop­ping three-night stand in Lon­don. It’s al­most dizzy­ing to be­hold.

If there’s a taste for clas­sic rock nos­tal­gia in the air tonight, Good­bye June are a per­fect ap­pe­tiser. The Nashville cousins mine sim­i­lar ‘70s in­flu­ence to the headliners, but with a brasher take and ev­ery dial turned up to 11. That doesn’t ap­ply just to vol­ume but the in­tent in ev­ery­thing they do: if they’re go­ing to pack a song with riffs they’re go­ing to be moun­tain­ous ones; if there’s a tam­bourine to be shook, Lan­don Mil­bourn will do it like Steven Tyler’s car-jack­ing grand­son.

By con­trast, the headliners are a lot more nu­anced. Most bands with Led Zep­pelin in their DNA – and there’s no point labour­ing to avoid that com­par­i­son just yet – would set­tle for try­ing to re­write Whole Lotta Love and try their own Stair­way To Heaven. Greta Van Fleet go deeper, or per­haps broader, to gather a sub­tler palette.

The likes of The Cold Wind and Lover, Leaver (Taker, Be­liever) take rel­a­tively com­pact rhythms, add big swag­ger­ing riffs, and go for the vis­ceral gut­punch with great suc­cess. They don’t al­ways feel the need to pile it on, how­ever. They start with the dreamy grooves of High­way Tune (once front­man Josh Kiszka has thrown out bunches of white roses), and through­out the set the mu­sic is given time and space to breathe. Edge Of Dark­ness stretches out the sin­u­ous blues, Flower Power turns into a glo­ri­ous blend of or­gan and chim­ing gui­tars, and the eco­log­i­cal­lythemed Watch­ing Over takes slow but epi­cally weighty steps.

One area where Greta Van Fleet def­i­nitely take the view that less is most def­i­nitely not more is in the jams. Four-minute songs are of­ten stretched to twice that, but, cru­cially, it never quite feels like they’ve gone past break­ing point. A big rea­son for that is the sheer fluid won­der­ment of gui­tarist Jake Kiszka’s play­ing. His loose but soul­ful solo­ing is ev­ery bit as in­te­gral as his twin front­man Josh’s Robert Plant-style wails, per­fectly mesh­ing to­gether to cre­ate some­thing truly bril­liant.

They might have ex­ploded in a very short space of time and at a very young age, but this is em­phat­i­cally down to qual­ity rather than any kind of hype. Greta Van Fleet have tal­ent and elec­tric charisma by the truck­load, and they rock like pretty much no-one else in the 21st cen­tury. Tonight is a spe­cial show, but the truly amaz­ing thing is the thought of how much more there is still to come. PA U L T R A V E R S

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