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Critics' Choice
GRETA VAN FLEET AT THE TROUBADOUR: VALHALLA OF A SHOW
10/22/17

Republic’s Greta Van Fleet took the stage before a packed house at L.A.’s Troubadour on Thursday night and suggested—with gusto—that big, heavy, melodic, ambitious rock music may be on the verge of a renaissance in the mainstream.

The Michigan band (brothers Josh Kiszka, Jake Kiszka and Sam Kiszka on vocals, guitar and bass/keys, respectively, along with drummer Danny Wagner) knows the tropes of classic rock inside and out, and delivers them with genuine verve. Josh’s voice, it should be said, is such a dead ringer for early Robert Plant that some critics have suggested it’s kept the band from truly finding its own lane. There’s some merit to this, but that voice, with its precision and power, is truly a marvel to experience in a live setting, and one rather imagines that with a little time and seasoning this effective and engaging quartet will evolve something entirely, compellingly its own. The instrumental chemistry is tight as hell, and Jake’s guitarwork sizzles.

The Troub set included all the songs from the group’s recent EP, Black Smoke Rising (including the rampaging “Safari Song” and the gospel-fired “Flower Power”), as well as several others that suggested they’re taking more chances than ever. “Edge of Darkness,” in particular, has real majesty. GVF hasn’t taken rock anywhere new yet, but they purvey it with love and intensity—we’ll be sticking around to see what’s next.