Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Eagles of Death Metal at the Bowery Ballroom

Jesse Hughes
At age seven, Jesse Hughes moved from his native Greenville, South Carolina, to Palm Desert, California. In high school, Josh Homme stopped a bully from picking on Hughes, and Hughes and Homme became best friends. After college, Hughes worked as the manager of a video depot until he and Homme formed Eagles of Death Metal in 1998. Since 2004, Eagles of Death Metal has recorded four albums; the most recent album, Zipper Down, will be released on October 2, 2015, and is the band's first album in seven years. Hughes and Homme are the only permanent members of Eagles of Death Metal, though Homme rarely plays live shows because of his primary commitment as lead singer of Queens of the Stone Age.

At the Bowery Ballroom tonight, Hughes' backup consisted of long-time guitarist Dave Catching, along with bassist Matt McJunkins and drummer Jeff Friedl, who also comprise the rhythm section of Puscifer and A Perfect Circle. Despite Eagles of Death Metal's tongue-in-cheek name, the concert sounded nothing like the Eagles or death metal. A similar spirit of levity permeated the hard rocking band's performance. The musicians came on stage, launching the party spirit by singing along and dancing as Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Born on the Bayou" played loudly through the house speakers. Hughes' larger-than-life stage persona and between-song banter remained comical right up to a mock guitar battle at the end of the set. The band opened with "Bad Dream Mama" from the first album and continued with gritty garage-basic arrangements of 10 more songs from all four albums. Hughes played Keith Richards' style riffs and Catching played Billy Gibbons' style slide, and it all rocked and rolled. For the encores, Hughes came out alone and performed four audience requests, beginning with the Ramones' "Beat on the Brat" and ending with the Rolling Stones' "Brown Sugar," accompanied only by his guitar. The rest of the band then returned for "Wannabe in L.A.", "I Only Want You" and a 10-minute "Speaking in Tongues" with the aforementioned guitar battle. Eagles of Death Metal did well in leading a 90-minute fun-filled rock and roll party.

Visit the Eagles of Death Metal at www.eaglesofdeathmetal.com.