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A supergroup that extends well beyond
the sum of its parts

Them Crooked Vultures
Aragon Ballroom
Chicago, IL
May 18, 2010
Them Crooked Vultures Them Crooked Vultures

Story By Andy Argyrakis
Publicity Photos

Very rarely, if ever, does a supergroup succeed in the studio at creating a worthwhile album, let alone launch a sold out tour. Though Them Crooked Vultures isn't perfect, the trio's pretty darn close when it comes to racking up an impressive self-titled debut and playing to fawning audiences all across the globe. Of course, it doesn't hurt that the group's members just so happen to be bassist John Paul Jones (of Led Zeppelin fame), drummer Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters, Nirvana) and vocalist/guitarist Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age).

To a certain extent, the threesome is a noticeable sum of its parts, but members also made a concentrated effort to forge forward in their own current identity throughout a blistering two hour set. The opener "No One Loves Me & Neither Do I" demonstrated the best of both worlds, roaring with Zeppelin-esque riffs and Homme's unmistakable vocals, but entrenching itself in modern bluesy snarls that were far from derivative of anyone else's other acts.

Though he's usually at the microphone these days, Grohl remains a formidable force on the drums, as evidenced by the militant "Gunman" and the rambunctious old time rock n' roller "Dead End Friends." His partners added an additional aura of aggression come the hypnotic guitars of "Elephants" and the chunky alt-rock groove "New Fang," ensuring everyone's gelling exceedingly well, especially in light of only being together for a mere year.

Considering the group's sole album status, it was surprising that Them Crooked Vultures didn't at least dust off a golden oldie or two, especially considering Jones used to cover a handful of Zeppelin tracks at the end of every Mutual Admiration Society show (his inferior all-star act with members of Nickel Creek and Toad the Wet Sprocket). Even if those omissions were certainly disappointing, everything presented was nothing short of riveting, mainly extended jam sessions of "Spinning In Daffodils" and "Warsaw or The First Breath You Take After You Give Up," which shone a structured spotlight on everyone's ultra-chiseled chops and suggested Them Crooked Vultures could (and should) surely thrive well beyond a one-off.

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