Ah, it’s North by Northeast time again. Five days of great music, raucous parties, and soul-crushing hangovers. I’ve busted out my trusty Converse high tops (open-toed shoes/sandals/flip-flops are a major no-no during NxNE, as I learned the hard way last year when some sloshed skankbasket in stilettos speared my foot at a show), and I’m once again making a feeble vow to take it easy on the booze. After all, I do have a serious corporate day job that I should probs be semi-conscious for.
Last night M and I hit up The Phoenix Concert Theatre for the Virgin Movile NxNE opening night party to see Small Sins and Eagles of Death Metal. Hailing from California, Eagles of Death Metal was formed in 1998 by Jesse Hughes and Josh Homme (of Queens of the Stone Age). Homme performs with the band from time to time as the drummer. Don’t let the name fool you: Eagles of Death Metal are not a death metal band. I’d been looking forward to this show all week, especially since The Phoenix is one of my favourite venues for a good, sweaty rock show. The air was thick with testosterone and the intoxicating aroma of Bud Light breath (?!), and the crowd (mostly mid-20s dudes and their tipsy-on-wine-coolers girlfriends) was pumped for a loud, pulsing, hard rock show. So did Eagles of Death Metal deliver?
Well. Um. Hmm. Not sure.
Here’s the thing. I have this theory about bands. I will refer to it as the Coldplay Conundrum. It goes like this: you know how a lot of people like Coldplay, even love Coldplay? And you hear them on the radio all the time and maybe you like it or maybe you don’t but the fans go nuts at the concerts and rave about their live performance and such? And yet…have you ever – EVER – heard anyone say that Coldplay is their #1 favourite band of all time? Probably not. I certainly haven’t, and I talk to people a lot about music. Friends, co-workers, even randoms and uggos. I love music and I love talking to people about what bands they’re into and why and who’s the next big thing. While Eagles of Death Metal are good – even great – at what they do, and put on a great show and bring the sweat and the sleaze and the swagger and certainly get the crowd riled, I just can’t imagine anyone ever declaring them as “my favourite band, like EVER dude.” There’s something lacking that I can’t quite put my finger on.
But back to last night. Frontman Jesse Hughes (sporting a tight black t-shirt, aviator shades and that perfect rock star scruff) was in fine form, complimenting the beautiful ladies of Toronto (right?) and working the stage like a stripper works a pole. On a serious note, Jessie announced to the crowd that bassist Brian O’Connor had recently been diagnosed with cancer and was having surgery ( Dean Fertita from Dead Weather took the stage in his absence). While there’s no denying that they’re bluesy, boozy and very watchable, I gotta admit that my attention wandered about 30 minutes into their set. All the songs just started to kind of blur together and sound alike. Despite high hopes, for me, Eagles of Death Metal just didn’t soar.
Links, dinks: www.myspace.com/eaglesofdeathmetal