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Them Crooked Vultures

ACL Live Shots

Reviewed by Austin Powell, Fri., Oct. 9, 2009

Them Crooked Vultures

Oct. 2, Zilker Park

"We're manhandling our music in a very feminine way," Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme told the Chronicle at ACL 2007. That sentiment holds true for Them Crooked Vultures, his new project with Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones and Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters. Despite the Mount Rushmore effect, Vultures is essentially Homme's solo vehicle. Grohl thrashed his drum kit with teen spirit, his playing high in the mix to demonstrate how hard he's thrashing, especially during the thrilling "Mind Eraser," on which he shared vocal duties. And Jones brought the bottom end stomp and boogie of yore for the monolithic "Caligulove" and his slide guitar-accented "Daffodils," concluding with an elegantly phrased (if unnecessary) piano outro. Yet, Homme completely dominated the procession, his cocksure croon and staccato guitar stabs fitting "Scumbag Blues" tighter than a ribbed magnum Trojan. The result was comparable to his Grohl-backed, 2002 opus Songs for the Deaf, only more technical, visceral, and progressive, bolstered by wingman QOTSA guitarist Alain Johannes. With no recorded material commercially available and only 10 shows under their belt, the Vultures didn't perform as much as attack, the group locking together in the closing 13-minute rave-up like Jones' Rosicrucian symbol affront Zeppelin IV. It was a whirlwind to experience, like getting initiated into some occult rock & roll secret society.

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