Up & Coming rock n roll sensation Greta Van Fleet played a secret, invite–only show for Lava Records and industry people on Monday night at the E&C Studio in The Bowery here in NYC. For a bunch of kids from Michigan, playing NYC has to be a big deal, especially in front of label and industry folks, but you wouldn’t know it watching them on the very small stage in the basement of a bar/restaurant. The stages will only get bigger from here for the Kiszka brothers and drummer Danny Wagner, who I’ll talk more about later, as they get set to kick off their first-ever tour after playing 6 dates with The Struts not too long ago.
Anyway, I’ll try to keep this brief as I decided I didn’t feel like working and wanted to enjoy the band’s set, but I’ll throw in a few photos at the end. As we mentioned in our review of Greta Van Fleet’s debut EP Black Smoke Rising, the band sounds like this generation’s Led Zeppelin. That’s a tall task, but GVF pulled it off well on the album and the only question was, could they do it live? The answer to that question is an emphatic YES! For the brothers Kiszka – Jake, Josh & Sam – and the Wagner boy, this was nothing. It didn’t matter that they were in NYC for really the first time as a band, it didn’t matter that industry suits were there, it didn’t matter that this event was meant to be a showcase of their talents and to say to Lava Records “this is why you signed us”.
None of it mattered, these four kids from Michigan made it look effortless, like they’d been doing this for 30 years, and that sound on their EP – the sound that mimics arguably the greatest band of all time – was present all the way through Josh’s Robert Plant-like wail at the opening – and closing – of Flower Power. It’s weird in a way, hearing the same sound that launched a new age of rock n roll way back in 1968, come back to life 5 decades later in a bunch of boys – because really, they’re boys – from the midwest, but it also says Greta Van Fleet are pretty damn special.
To be as talented as they are at such a young age speaks volumes. All three of the Kiszka boys are exceptionally skilled at their crafts despite barely being old enough to grow facial hair, with Josh’s incredible vocals and Jake’s ability to flat out shred while Sam locks down the bass, but the prize here, at least for me, is drummer Danny Wagner. Right from get-go, it was clear he was an absolute monster in the jump seat, but I wouldn’t realize just how much of a monster he is until GVF wrapped up Flower Power with a drum solo for the ages. What followed the end of the showcase was a mouth-agape look of shock not only on my face, but also the faces of most around me, and one thought in my head: only one man has ever played drums quite like that, and I had just witnessed the second coming of John Bonham in the form of a 20-something from a town called Frankenmuth, population 5,000 or so, about a half-hour’s drive up the Dixie Highway to Saginaw. And that all of this took place in the center of the world – New York fuckin’ City – made the whole thing even more special.
Greta Van Fleet are slated to play a special show at The Viper Room in LA and officially hit the road on 8/15. They’re back in town at Mercury Lounge on 8/24 – we’ll be there, come hell or high water – and then the real fun starts for them when they play Rock Allegiance in Camden, NJ on 10/7 – we’re working on that one too – and close out their tour with a performance at Aftershock in Sacramento on 10/21. The rest of the world is about to get a taste of real rock n roll, they just don’t know it yet. After this tour, the world won’t be able to forget.
Greta Van Fleet’s full tour dates are below – and I highly recommend you check them out ASAP – with a small photo gallery to follow.
Greta Van Fleet tour dates:
July 25 — Los Angeles, Calif. @ The Viper Room*
Aug. 15 — Columbus, Ohio @ The Basement*
Aug. 16 — Covington, Ky. @ Madison Live*
Aug. 18 — Cleveland, Ohio @ Grog Shop*
Aug. 19 — Lancaster, Pa. @ Chameleon Club
Aug. 21 — Allston, Mass. @ Great Scott*
Aug. 24 – New York, N.Y. @ Mercury Lounge
Aug. 25 — Wilkes-Barre, Pa. @ Chandler Lobby & Kirby Center*
Aug. 26 — Washington, D.C. @ DC9*
Aug. 28 — Raleigh, N.C. @ Pour House Music Hall*
Aug. 29 — Charlotte, N.C. @ Visulite Theatre*
Aug. 30 — Atlanta, Ga. @ Earl Restaurant & Lounge *
Aug. 31 — Johnson City, Tenn. @ Capone’s*
Sept. 2 — St. Louis, Mo. @ Ballpark Village
Sept. 3 — Nashville, Tenn. @ High Watt*
Sept. 30 — Janesville, Wis. @ WJJO Sonic Boom Festival**
Oct. 1 — Louisville, Ky. @ Louder Than Life **
Oct. 6 — Rochester, N.Y. @ Main Street Armory
Oct. 7 — Camden, N.J. @ Rock Allegiance **
Oct. 15 — Houston, Texas @ Houston Open Air**
Oct. 21 — Sacramento, Calif. @ Aftershock Festival**