Gig Review: Eagles of Death Metal & Rocket From The Crypt

Who: Eagles of Death Metal & Rocket From The Crypt

Where: The Hi-Fi, Melbourne

When: 24th February 2014

With the majority of Australian music festivals announcing sideshows, it can lead to an almost brain-melting scenario when deciding who to see – especially when a number of them inevitably clash. There was no such head scratching decisions to be made however, when it was revealed that the reformed Rocket From The Crypt would be opening for Eagles Of Death Metal.

Finding a decent spot amongst the already heaving crowd a good 15 minutes before San Diego’s finest purveyors of rock n’ roll, Rocket From The Crypt, took to the stage was a challenge in itself. Having originally bid farewell on the night of Halloween in 2005, many people never imagined they’d get the chance to see the sextet in the flesh again.

Arriving on stage in matching mariachi outfits, the band kicked off with a double helping of ‘Straight American Slave’ and ‘White Belt’ from Group Sounds. Thankfully the intensity levels of the opening songs was a sign of things to come, as John “Speedo” Reis and his band of brothers tore through 14 slices of rocket pie in a little over 45 minutes.

The blaring horns and screeching guitar solos of ‘I Know’ got the dancers in the crowd upping the levels of intensity. Speedo then instructed the audience members to massage the shoulders of the person in front of them – so as to prepare for the unavoidable dancing that was to follow. The raw energy and infectiousness of ‘I’m Not Invisible’ and ‘Get Down’ was a highlight, during which Speedo thanked the audience again and again for their never ending love for his band.

The seven-piece finished up with five numbers from their seminal Scream, Dracula, Scream! record, with ‘On A Rope’ and ‘Young Livers’ receiving the loudest cheers. ‘Come See, Come Saw’ ended with an instrumental bombardment of guitar and bassline licks, which included Speedo sharing a rather disturbingly erotic themed jet lag story, which received some uncomfortable reactions!

The late arrival of Eagles Of Death Metal a good 40 minutes after RFTC wasn’t lost on the crowd, however as soon as Jesse Hughes appeared on stage with a cape for company, all was instantly forgotten. The legendary act smashed through ‘Don’t Speak (I Came To Make A Bang)’, ‘Bad Dream Mama’, and ‘Cherry Cola’ in a flurry of boundless energy and bone crunching power.

The buzzsaw guitar duels of showman Hughes and his partner in crime Davey Catching was an undeniable highlight throughout. The power of Joey Castillo’s pounding drums worked in cahoots with Brian O’Connor’s thunderous bass, adding to the flames of this modern day rock n’ roll indebted group. With the sweat gushing from his every pore, Hughes maintained his persona as the flamboyant frontman while never missing a trick when he interacted with the audience.

The fans were just as up for it tonight, as the sweat-induced mass of bodies moshed, danced, and pogoed in unison during ‘Secret Plans’, ‘Stuck In The Metal’, and ‘I Got A Feeling (Just Nineteen)’. The strength of their back catalogue was highlighted even further with the filthy, scuzzy, and sleazy ‘Whorehoppin (Shit, Goddamn)’, ‘Wanna Be In L.A.’, and ‘I Want You So Hard (The Boys Bad News)’ bringing an end to the main set.

It was the end – or so everyone in the band, bar Hughes, thought, as he soldiered on regardless to blast out ‘Midnight Creeper’ and a cover of Bachman-Turner Overdrive’s ‘Takin Care Of Business’. Having returned to aid their vocalist, the endless rock n’ roll juggernaut that is Eagles Of Death Metal left everyone in attendance as happy as pigs in the preverbal shit, with a finale of ‘I Only Want You’ and an ear bashing version of ‘Speaking In Tongues’, which included one final head-to-head between guitar slingers Hughes and Catching.

Set List – RFTC: Straight American Slave, White Belt, I Know, Panic Scam, Made For You, When In Rome (Do the Jerk), Sturdy Wrists, I’m Not Invisible, Get Down, Middle, Born in ’69, On A Rope, Young Livers, Come See, Come Saw

Set List – EODM: Don’t Speak (I Came To Make A Bang), Bad Dream Mamma, Cheery Cola, So Easy, Heart On, Now I’m A Fool, Secret Plans, English Girl, Already Died, Stuck In the Metal, Cheap Thrills, I Got A Feeling (Just Nineteen), Miss Alyssa, Whorehoppin (Shit, Goddamn), Wanna Be In L.A., I Want You So HArd (The Boys Bad News), Midnight Creeper, Taking Care Of Business (BTO cover), I Only Want You, Speaking In Tongues.

This review was written for Tonedeaf (An Australian music site)

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