Last time around Greta Van Fleet were tarred with a negative label, that they were mere clones of another great and legendary rock band. Their debut EP release was, therefore, subject to a lot of negative reviews and feedback. However, I was very impressed with the depth of musical talent when I witnessed them live earlier this year. Fast forward, and their debut album has been released, it sees the band finding their own musical feet and is also more representative of the band’s own style. The album itself has achieved high and impressive chart placings. Greta Van Fleet came across as a little nervous last time out as it was their first live show in the UK, and that was clearly apparent, so I was keen to see if they had mastered the art of stagecraft.
The band comes over as more relaxed and confident and that rubs off on the audience. Last time that came over a little negatively as they were perceived as being aloof. However, this second live showing it appeared as if they had greatly improved their live delivery in terms of connecting with an audience. Song-wise the newer songs were less derivative and sounded like a new band that had emerged and found their own identity. There is no questioning the band’s unique musical talent and that is clearly apparent from the mature vocals of Josh Kizka to the sublime guitar histrionics of his brother Jake. The set list is a perfect blend of new and old material. Where they differ from their musical peers is that rather than the quick fire delivery of song after song they adopt a much more free flow style. Breaking off into old-style musical jams and solos, at regular intervals. Audience makeup is a solid 50/50 split of old-style rockers and a younger new generation of followers. Traversing the generations and playing to a sold-out capacity venue illustrates that few have listened to the negative press and poor reviews. The band already have their own classics in Highway Song and Black Smoke Rising which are instantly recognisable and are eagerly welcomed. New songs also slot seamlessly alongside older tracks. I feel that in such a short space of time that the band have taken a huge leap in terms of both ability and confidence. Far from being derided and ridiculed, the band have weathered the storm of adversity and emerged triumphant. They again deliver a set of high quality and most of all entertaining rock music.
If Greta Van Fleet are playing in a town near you don’t believe what you hear and make up your own minds, you certainly won’t be left disappointed. A great night out and it’s nice to see that the mantle of classic rock music is being adopted by the next generation. Rock is not actually dead as Gene Simmons has declared but rather it is very much alive…and kicking.
All photos © Christopher James Ryan Photography