30 January 2019 at Enmore Theatre
It was 6 p.m. when I walked past the doors of the Enmore. They weren’t due to open for another hour and a half, but people had already started to fill the street. By 6.30 the line had snaked its way up and down Enmore road as hundreds of eager fans waited to access the sold-out Enmore Theatre and get as close as they can to the front. The scope of fan demographic was amazing, every age group was represented, from the aging hippie, re-living the legendary gigs of the 60s and 70s, all the way through to the new generation of rock fans, some maybe seeing their very first show. Greta Van Fleet may have copped a lot of flak from critics about their album, or sounding like Led Zeppelin, but they have connected with many people, and that was proven tonight by the turnout.
First let me say that I had never heard of The Struts before seeing them support Greta Van Fleet. I had no idea what I was walking into, and boy, was I impressed. The Enmore was packed for The Struts and it was easy to tell why. They were simply incredible. Imagine if The Darkness and Queen had a baby and that would be getting close to the mark. Hailing from Derby, England The Struts are no stranger to important support slots, recently completing a tour with the Foo Fighters, and they know how to use the stage. Front-man Luke Spiller was enchanting, channelling Freddie Mercury, his control of the crowd was immense, at times not even needing to say a word, simply motioning to the audience and everyone leapt at the chance to be involved. Even taking from the likes of Corey Taylor with a ‘everyone get down on the ground’ moment that turned into a huge party. Anyone who thinks ‘Rock is Dead’ they need to see The Struts. With songs that can fill stadiums and personality to match, I don’t think it’ll be long before The Struts dominate the world on their own headline tour, simply an incredible band.
Following The Struts would be no easy task for anyone and expectations are high for Greta Van Fleet. The energy and anticipation in the room is palpable. The audience chanting their name and cheering every time the song playing would end, as it was getting closer to the set. When Greta Van Fleet finally took the stage, the roar was deafening. The band shrouded in smoky red ambience, Josh Kiszka commented ‘Another day in the office’ as they began. Leading off with Cold Wind the boys indulge the crowd with extended guitar solos and a huge rock ending that went on for a while, but when they kick into Highway Tune it brings the house down, with the packed Enmore going absolutely nuts. Two songs in and it seems Greta Van Fleet own Sydney. Two E.P. tracks Edge of Darkness and Flower Power come next, each with their own extended solo break and jam section, where vocalist Josh Kiszka and guitarist Jake Kiszka would share centre stage and show off their impressive skills. This is when, for me at least, the set got a little confusing. They chose to include two cover’s John Denver’s The Music Is You and Howlin’ Wolf’s Evil, not that there is anything wrong with bands performing covers, but I would have preferred two Greta Van Fleet songs instead. The Enmore crowd united in voice to make You’re The One a massive singalong, and a lovely moment. Bassist Sam Kiszka swapping to keys as the stage was again cloaked in mist and bathed with a red glow giving us another solo before getting into Watching Over. The energy of the room never seemed to wilt, however the mix started to become challenging. The guitars and keys seemed to overpower the vocals during most of the set, you could still hear Josh Kiszka, but it wasn’t the best, and with so many extended jam sections during the set it did get a but arduous. But then, When the Curtain Falls lifted the roof off of the building, bringing the energy in the room to an all time high, before they took a short break preceding the encore. Black Smoke Rising came first, and boy, do people love that song, it got the loudest pop and singalong of the night, with people bellowing the lyrics back at the band. Ending with Safari Song Greta Van Fleet even included a drum solo to finish the set. Overall, Greta Van Fleet were great, but honestly, slightly underwhelming, especially after watching The Struts. Call me selfish or greedy but I wanted more songs from Greta Van Fleet and less jamming. I was very surprised and disappointed not to hear Anthem or The New Day, especially since they had covers in their set. Still a great show and I’m sure that their upward trajectory continues. However, I can guarantee you, we will be hearing from The Struts again, they seemed to make more of an impression with the audience and like the words from vocalist Luke Spiller ‘We will remember the name’.
Line-up: Greta Van Fleet, The Struts
Reviewer: Jonathan Hurley