Them Crooked Vultures – Download Main Stage, June 11 2010
On reflection this set from rock’s latest supergroup suggested the sum is less than the stellar parts. It seems impossible to fault musicians of the calibre of Dave Grohl, Josh Homme and John Paul Jones but on this evidence you can.
With a decent debut album under their belts the pressure was on to prove this power trio could pull it off live.
And while there was no note out of place or no slackening of the pace there was an obvious spark missing from a band many have hailed as the saviours of heavy rock.
Getting Grohl back behind the skins is always a good move musically and he was clearly smacking the s**t out of his kit. But then the Foo Fighters’ frontman is a born entertainer and sitting him on a stool robs the crowd of TCV’s most obvious showman.
Homme has got it all – the voice, the legacy and the kudos. But here he failed to act as the glue binding his big-name rhythm section and, taking their lead from the QOTSA singer, both Grohl and Jones chose to deliver a workmanlike display rather than a performance with the ‘wow’ factor.
The best songs from TCV’s critically acclaimed debut often sounded no better than average and that, in itself, is a damning indictment of a band capable of bringing the heavier end of rock back to the masses.
In their defence the experienced trio are still in their infancy as a band and, given a good run of shows between now and next summer, they could easily return to Download in 2011 as the star turn. They’re already stars but that’s just not enough.