Review + Photos by Frank Ralph

I’d heard mixed things about Greta Van Fleet from ‘they’re just a Zeppelin covers band’ to ‘absolutely incredible stuff’ but I’m usually not one to just take other people’s word for it so I had to check them out for myself. I love the album Anthem of the Peaceful Army, and yes, it is very Zeppelin-esque – but who cares – I love Zeppelin.

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The buzz around them is pretty big at the moment and that meant this show had been upgraded from the Academy 2 to Academy 1 and it still easily sold out. That’s no mean feat for a band on their first album. I’ve seen many established acts play to this room when it’s been half empty.

It was already packed for openers Goodbye June, from Tennessee, who played a great set that was very reminiscent of Guns N’ Roses in parts, had they been from Nashville. They were at their best when going full tilt and only occasionally lost momentum on some of the quieter moments during the set.

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As the Motown playing through the PA faded and the lights dimmed the band arrived on stage with Josh Kiszka throwing flowers into the first few rows of the crowd.
This show, the final one of the tour, may not have even happened as Josh tells the crowd that they had hopped on a train and gone 2 hours in the wrong direction heading away from Manchester, so it’s kind of a blessing we even got a show tonight, never mind one as mind blowing as this.

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It’s music that harks back to a time of pounding drums, wailing vocals and epic guitar solos. And it’s not just old people that are here to enjoy it with a young generation enjoying the show too. Jake Kiszka was on fire as his extended solos lead the way through a 15-minute Edge of Darkness. His guitar is like a wild horse he’s not quite tamed and it leads him around the stage as he forces notes from it, even showboating by playing behind his head Hendrix style.

There was power and bombast all throughout the show that backed up all the flamboyance but there was also subtlety and beauty in songs like You’re the One which gave the show variety, and the lighting throughout was spectacular.

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This was a show from a time that I wish I’d lived in and it was actually a bit disappointing to leave the venue and end up back into 2018.

I could quite happily see this band every night and I can only imagine where they will end up when they take what they have now, experiment with it and build it into something even bigger. Do yourself a favour and go and see for yourself when they come back next year.

See the complete photoset from tonight’s gig here.

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