Review By Raelee Atkinson
When a band walks on stage and their intro song is “The Time Warp” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, you better strap yourself in and beware of those pelvic thrusts that really drive you insane!!!
It’s a cold Friday night in the Steel City. Newcastle is one of those blue collar tough towns that like their rock n roll heavy, dirty and loud, so it is no surprise that there’s a line up around the corner to get into the new revamped King Street music venue, The Bandroom, to see American rockers, The Eagles Of Death Metal.
The night starts off with The Southern River Band, hailing from Perth. The shirtless vocalist warms up the crowd regaling us with stories peppered with many expletives assuring us that he really is “a good singer”. The music is classic, true blue Aussie pub rock - a’la Jet or Wolfmother. And for all the tongue in cheek lyrical bravado, these humble Aussie battlers really are talented, and the dude can sing. They’re tight. I’m impressed. After a blistering 45 min set, they walk off the stage and I’m left wondering what is in the water in WA, because they certainly breed some amazing talent over there. The crowd is warmed up and ready for the main act. Let’s gooooooooo!!!!!
Richard O’Brien’s voice plays through the speakers … “listen closely…” as EODM enter the stage. They dance and camp it up, geeing up the audience, their stage outfits look a lot like Thrift Store Chic, there’s an abundance of handlebar moustaches and wigs and you just know that this is the prelude for an ‘interesting’ evening ahead.
The crowd are singing along and doing the Time Warp dance with the band and the music fades out and EODM start their set with Got A Woman, followed by I Only Want You and Don’t Speak (I Came to Make a Bang!). Lead vocalist and guitarist, Jesse Hughes entertains the crowd with his camped up song introductions, sounding more like a Southern Baptist preacher, except hes not saving souls, rather, this rockstar is preaching sex n drugs n rock n roll, baby. The crowd love it, they're dancing, heads are bobbing, and everyone is singing along loudly. Hughes pauses to tell the crowd he was “SO high” as he arrived in town he was nervous that he wouldn’t be able to perform at that moment I see a flash of light in my peripheral vision, I turn my head and see a bunch of middle-aged bearded men passing the “peace pipe” around and the room is slowly filling with the fragrance of eau du sweet leaf. It all just seems appropriate for the vibe of this band - part rock n roll fantasy, part campy cosplay.
They continue by playing faves and classics such as Cherry Cola, Complexity, Silverlake and Heart On.
Then, someone in the crowd is celebrating their 21st birthday and Hughes has the crowd singing Happy Birthday before continuing to playing Now Im a Fool, I Want You So Hard (Boy’s Bad News), Whorehoppin’ (Shit, Goddamn) and I Love You All The Time. The set ends with a cover of David Bowie’s Moonage Daydream which showcases an amazing lead guitar solo. After a brief break, the band return for an encore of I Like to Move in the Night and Speaking in Tongues. Its an 85+ minute set that is designed to entertain and keep the crowd bopping along. And it delivered!
FINAL THOUGHTS - EODM are masters at the 3 minute rock tune, perfect for an ADHD society that can’t hold a thought for longer than a tv commercial. The EODM show is like a teenage rock n roll dreamscape for every kid who ever sung into a hairbrush or played air guitar on a tennis racquet and dreamed of being famous, playing on a big stage to a roaring crowd. It’s all about fun from go to whoa! No grown-ups allowed here!
Personally, I feel like a bit of a snob as I long for some depth. Surely these guys, now in their 50’s, would have something important to say, some life stories to share. I get that this is their schtick and I’m not dissing it at all, but as a music fan, and someone who just experienced an almost 90min set, I don't feel like I have any insight as to who these people are once they walk off the stage. Yes, I was entertained. Absolutely. Yes, they are talented, and yes, there is definitely an audience for this style of rock music as the packed out crowded room suggests. But for me, there was something missing - a personal connection. Not everyone needs that from music and or musicians, but I realise that I do. It's not a criticism against the band, but it was part of my experience at this show, that I learned something about myself, and that can only be a good thing.
Definitely go and check The Eagles Of Death Metal out if you are a fan of bands like The Darkness, Dandy Warhols, The Hives,The Vines, and The Rolling Stones.
EODM are currently on tour in Australia, check local gig guides for details.