The European leg of Eagles of Death Metal’s tour for the underrated Heart On rolled into town on Thursday night to a packed Academy. Despite the absence of QOTSA mastermind Josh Homme, Jesse ‘Boots Electric’ Hughes and his live band sold out the intimate Dublin venue within a few weeks of going on sale, a testament to the band’s steady following in this country.
Displaying the goods from this year’s Heart On is evidently the purpose of the current tour and tonight’s Dublin show is no exception. Predictably enough -Wannabe In LA’ was more than well-received by the crowd assembled, as was a glorious -Anything -Cept The Truth’. Older tracks like the infectious -I Want You So Hard’ blend easily with the new material and this goes down well with the crowd present, who are well-versed in the EoDM back catalogue to say the least. Standout track from the recent LP, -Now I’m A Fool’, translated perfectly and actually sounded better live. Meanwhile -Secret Plans’ managed to push the growing atmosphere further as the band really started to put on a show to remember. In such a hyped up environment, -I’m Your Torpedo’ would’ve been divine but instead we were treated to a lucid version of Stones classic -Brown Sugar’, with Hughes and Co paying homage to their rock roots.
The polished and energetic material from the three records to date manages to translate impeccably in the live arena and coupled with the tattooed attitude oozing from the stage, it is clear EoDM mean business. More from their second effort (and this reviewer’s personal favourite), 2006’s Death by Sexy would have made the show complete, although the setlist did include such of the album’s better known tracks such as a stomping rendition of the ultra catchy -Cherry Cola’. A stellar -Don’t Speak (I Came to Make A Bang)’ was featured alongside -I Got A Feelin’ (Just Nineteen)’, two tunes which have become EoDM anthems.
Debut record Peace, Love, Death Metal got its equal share of the running order to the delight of many, although a significant highlight was the version of -Stuck in the Middle with You’, always a crowd pleaser. The performance as a whole is dominated by charismatic frontman Hughes and his sheer enthusiasm. Despite occasionally boasting a falsetto range to make even Prince shed a tear, the self titled ‘Boots Electric’ is also possibly the biggest charmer in rock with one eye on the ladies at all times. This is a vocalist who swings from being straight out of Wayne’s World to rocking with the best of them, blowing kisses to phallic posturing to signing autographs between songs. He rightfully receives full marks for audience interaction in an era where musicians increasingly deliver phone-in performances despite the good money paid to see them. The moment when a chancer threw a homemade ‘Pigeons of Shit Metal’ t shirt at Hughes (to his delight) in reference to Axl Rose’s infamous comment was indeed priceless.
EoDM are a far cry from being everyone’s cup of tea but they arguably fill a very vacant hole in the current rock scene that is crying out for some old school, sexy rock n roll without the trappings of cock rock. Their music is raunchy, undeniably catchy and goddamn hard to stand still to – essential ingredients for any hard rock contenders.
With sufficient cheesefactor on display, Palm Desert’s finest deliver equal amounts of tongue in cheek humour and enough old school rock n roll to make the show much more than a running gag. Eagles of Death Metal probably won’t make gig of the year in any end of year polls but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a show to remember. Plus at twenty quid a pop for a ticket, tonight’s show was easy on the pocket as well as the ears. Despite now being in their eleventh year as a unit, Eagles of Death Metal still struggle to be acknowledged in their own right, particularly for their humour-laden performances and perceived status as a QOTSA sideline act. But with shows like this, they have more than proved their mettle.
Photo from Digg.be.
Eagles of Death Metal Dublin poster by Tiny Little Horse