About a month ago, up-and-coming rock sensation Greta Van Fleet played a secret show on New York’s Lower East Side for Lava Records people, where they blew the roof off the place (read our review here). On Thursday night, the young band returned to the Lower East Side for their first official New York City appearance as they “headlined” the early show at the world-famous Mercury Lounge. I put headlined in quotes only because Mercury Lounge technically doesn’t consider the early show a headline performance, but that’s all semantics. They were headlining, full stop.
It’s no secret we’ve been high on Greta Van Fleet since we first heard their debut EP Black Smoke Rising, and they showed industry people what all the hype was about at the aforementioned secret show, but this was their time to shine. Their time to show the pubic what the hype was all about and give NYC their first taste of the Led Zeppelin-like band from Frankenmuth, Michigan. And they did not disappoint in the least, but we’ll get to that later because the opener – Goodbye June – was also making their NYC debut 6 months late.
You see, Goodbye June was scheduled to open for Whiskey Myers at Gramercy Theater way back in February, but mother nature dumped a blizzed on us and that show was postponed until just about two weeks ago. Goodbye June obviously could not be on that tour as they were committed to hitting the road in support of Greta Van Fleet, so here they were making their debut at a sold out Mercury Lounge instead of a sold out Gramercy Theater. I’m sure any band would prefer playing in front of 1100 people instead of the much smaller crowd of around 100 at the time they went on, but they’ll get there in no time based on the intensity of their set.
The bad news is we can’t find a set list for Goodbye June for this show, or any other. The good news is they were unbelievable, and if any band other than Greta Van Fleet had followed them, they would have stolen the show. These boys are a bunch of talented southern rockers from Nashville who played their own brand of boot stompin’ outlaw country – while wearing snakeskin boots – and have the long hair and southern attitude to go with the music. I was extremely impressed by the band and I really wish they had been able to play that show with Whiskey Myers in front of a much larger crowd. More people deserve to hear music this good.
Now, back to Greta Van Fleet. While we can’t find a set list for this show either, the very pleasant surprise is this: THEY HAVE MORE THAN 6 SONGS!!!!! Yes, they put out four on their EP, and played two more at the show last month, but they do have more and they’re just as good as what’s already been released or played live. The (possible) disappointment is that the set lists for some of their other shows say there was an encore, and myself along with most others assumed the show was over when the house music came on. I’m gonna be really pissed and disappointed if I left too early, because GVF were absolutely killing it and I would have loved to hear even more from them.
We’ve made our thoughts on this band well known in the past, and with the Kiszka brothers finally starting to find their stage presence a little – guitarist Jake likes to play his axe behind his head while lead singer Josh is starting to dance around a little more with Sam doing his thing on bass- and drummer Danny Wagner, who we referred to as John Bonham reincarnated, beating the hell out of the drums in a way that only so many before him have been capable of, this band gives me a ton of hope for the future of good ol’ rock n roll.
It sounds cliche to say that because there are hundreds of other rock bands out there touring and playing good music, but there isn’t another band quite like Greta Van Fleet. Sure, you’ve got The Struts running around acting like Queen and that’s fine, we love The Struts too, but you’re not going to find another band like GVF anywhere. Not now and probably not 20 years from now. You need to look 50 years into the past to the early days of Led Zeppelin to find another band so good, so early, and so young. Greta Van Fleet is a once-in-a-generation band who are poised to for a rapid ascent to stardom. They’re playing 250-capacity venues now, but they’ll be opening for Bob Seger in Saginaw, MI later in the tour and that right there is what’s going to solidify their presence as a force in rock n roll, and a year from now will very likely be headlining 2,000-capacity concert halls like Playstation Theater or Hammerstein Ballroom.
The sky’s the limit for a band like Greta Van Fleet, especially at their age – I was surprised when Josh came out with a beer, I wasn’t sure he was old enough to drink – when they have potentially 50 years of music ahead of them, and they are taking full advantage of the opportunities they’ve earned as they announce themselves to the world. If the private show last month was meant to be a sort of coming out party for GVF, it’s safe to say the beast is loose and there’s no putting this genie back in the bottle. I don’t know what’s in the water in Frankemuth, Michigan, but something gave these kids all the talent in the world and they look like they have no intentions of wasting it. You heard it here first, Greta Van Fleet will be headlining arenas inside of 5 years.
Check out our photo gallery below along with the setlist we can confirm under that.
Confirmed setlist (there may have been an encore that we missed:
Talk On The Streets
Black Smoke Rising
Edge of Darkness
When The Cold Wind Blows
You’re The One
Evil Is Goin’ On
Mountain Of The Sun
Lover Leaver Taker Believer