Review + Photography by Marianne Brits-Strodl

It’s not every day you get to go see a band boldly dubbed “The Future of Rock ‘n Roll”. That’s quite a heavy load to bear for a foursome from Frankenmuth, Michigan, that are all under 21! Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to see Greta Van Fleet on Wednesday evening as they packed out the O2 Islington to over-capacity. The band has an immense hype build around them at the moment and getting a ticket to one of the two London shows were a hot commodity. The band consists of three brothers, lead singer, Josh Kiszka; his twin brother, Jake Kiszka on guitar; younger brother, Sam on bass and then Danny Wagner behind the drums.

Greta van Fleet live at O2 Islington, London, 4 April 2018

The Second Sons opened the night. The crowd consisted of ages 16-70, mainly dressed in flannel shirts, leather jackets and jeans. Most of the crowd likely being old Zeppelin fans that brought their teenage kids with.

Just after 9 pm, Greta Van Fleet came onto a smoke-filled stage flashing their pearly whites and 70’s fashion to the crowd chanting “Greta!” “Greta!” to deafening cheers. They started with ‘Highway Tune’, their first single from their EP ‘Black Smoke Rising’ and arguably their most recognisable. The song has topped charts around the world and its video has had over 2.2 million views on YouTube. ‘Edge of Darkness’ where Josh pushed his high-octave vocals to the limit and guitarist Jake Kiszka played his guitar behind his head followed this.

Greta van Fleet live at O2 Islington, London, 4 April 2018

Greta van Fleet live at O2 Islington, London, 4 April 2018

For ‘Flower Power’, little brother Sam took a place behind the keyboard, Josh took a seat and it momentarily slowed down the night. It’s a memorable and captivating tune, probably my favourite. Another song that stood out was powerful and vocal soaring, ‘Mountain of the Sun’.

The set consisted of 10 songs plus two encores, sing-along, fan-favourite ‘Black Smoke Rising’ and drum and guitar fuelled ‘Safari Song’ which ended the night on a high note (pun intended).

Greta van Fleet_10_O2 Islington

Greta van Fleet live at O2 Islington, London, 4 April 2018

The crowd was relatively subdued, almost like they were afraid to miss something. Apart from some sound issues throughout and the venue being too full, those that could see the band left satisfied.

My only real criticism is how obviously Zeppelin influences them. How Josh is copying Robert Plant’s signature high pitched howls, their vintage guitars, the drumming patterns, the classic rock lines – likely to their own detriment. They are very talented musicians with a lot of potential.

Greta van Fleet live at O2 Islington, London, 4 April 2018

Greta van Fleet live at O2 Islington, London, 4 April 2018

Verdict – Is the band I saw perform on Wednesday, “The future of Rock ‘n Roll?” No. This is not groundbreaking. But, definitely a breath of fresh air from what the industry is currently producing. A revival of Rock ‘n Roll from yesteryear? Possibly. There is a teenage band in their garage that will follow their lead and that means there is hope.

I left the venue thinking I should stop referring to them as “that band that sounds like Zeppelin” and to give these kids a fair chance. I’ll reserve further judgement till I’ve seen what they’ll do next. I look forward to it.

Greta van Fleet live at O2 Islington, London, 4 April 2018

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