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Concert Review: Greta Van Fleet at The Basement

Matt Ellis Matt Ellis Concert Review: Greta Van Fleet at The BasementPhotos by Matt Ellis.
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“This is going to be historic!” exclaims an overly-excited middle-aged man to me just moments before Michigan classic rock revivalists Greta Van Fleet took to the stage for their first headlining show, while a trio of 50-somethings in front of me excitedly take photos of the stage and set list, and a young woman bounces uncontrollably awaiting the show to start. It seems we’re here to see something special.

But before Greta Van Fleet’s scorching Columbus debut happened, the sold out and very sweaty Basement crowd were treated to a surprisingly enjoyable set from Canadian rockers, The Glorious Sons.

Looking like a slightly unfit Axl Rose and channelling an early Eddie Vedder, frontman Brett Emmons led the Ontario five-piece through a high energy set of crowd-pleasing, old school rock-and-roll. The kind of songs that go perfectly with a summer road trip, with the windows down and the radio turned up loud.

Now, to be honest I hadn’t heard of Greta Van Fleet until last week when I was encouraged to check them out by the band’s publicist, and… wow. I’m so glad that I did, so that I got to see the band before they’re swept up into bigger and better things.

The band consist of three Kiszka brothers and a childhood friend raised on their parents extensive collection of 70s rock ‘n roll vinyl. Twin brothers Josh (vocals) and Jake (guitar) ooze with natural rock-star stage presence, while younger brother Sam (bass) and drummer Danny Wagner lay down the rock solid foundations.

The band aren’t afraid to show their influences, and while the Led Zeppelin similarities are valid, GVF have much more in their collective musical repertoire to be written off as a copycat band and are way too talented to go unnoticed for long.

Their powerful live show and Josh Kiszka’s effortlessly attention grabbing vocals were amplified by the excitement of the shoulder to shoulder basement crowd that featured a healthy mix of old, burnt-out rock fans and the younger generation of fans that have all latched on to this young and hungry Michigan four-piece.

Historic? Perhaps not just yet, but be sure to keep an eye on this band as their infectious love for real rock-and-roll is sure to spread as they pick up new fans during this first of many headline tour.

All photos by Matt Ellis.

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