mon 04/03/2024

Greta Van Fleet, OVO Hydro, Glasgow review - all rock and very little roll | reviews, news & interviews

Greta Van Fleet, OVO Hydro, Glasgow review - all rock and very little roll

Greta Van Fleet, OVO Hydro, Glasgow review - all rock and very little roll

The retro rock band were too often sluggish during their arena show

Greta Van Fleet continue their love affair with 70s rock

If nothing else, you couldn’t accuse Greta Van Fleet of short-changing fans when it came to costumes or pyro. It felt like every few minutes the Michigan throwback rockers frontman Josh Kiszka was disappearing offstage, only to reappear in a variety of jumpsuits or robes, while roasting flames regularly shot up from behind the four piece.

A shame that the outfit changes represented the most variety in a one-dimensional arena rock show. No matter what garb Kiszka donned, the songs remained the same, which was fantastic news from those wanting to enjoy a Led Zeppelin revival and substantially less thrilling for anyone else. Admittedly there was plenty of the former in attendance in Glasgow, but even some of those may have been disappointed by what was on offer here.

In fairness, Kiszka has an excellent, commanding vocal and the night was best served when you could hear it ring out over the din. Sadly that wasn’t always the case, for the sound mix was frustrating, layering the guitar and bass of the other Kiszka siblings, Jake and Sam, into a stodgy whole that sometimes sucked up their brother’s voice.

Perhaps it’s unsurprising then, that one of the night’s highlights came when the foursome stripped things back, with an acoustic take on “Black Smoke Rising” sparkling thanks to powerful harmonies, while another standout was the rambunctious “Highway Tune”, a rock'n’roll outing that galloped along. 

However that only emphasised a flaw that became more apparent the longer the two hour and 20 minute set went on for. So much of Greta Van Fleet’s style is based on the rock of rock'n'roll, but they rarely roll, resulting in lengthy instrumental jams that hammered noisily and possessed all the groove of a church fete.

It took only three numbers before “Lover Leaver (Taker, Believer)” was stretched out past 10 minutes, an odd setlist placing that slowed the pace of the gig down shortly after it started. This happened on several occasions, with the aforementioned “Highway Tune” followed by a punishingly tedious drum solo from Danny Wagner that stopped the show’s momentum with an emphatic thud, and the impact of impressive regular set-closer “The Archer”, a genuinely forceful slice of hard rock, was lessened by it immediately following yet another lengthy jam on the monotonous churn of “Sacred the Thread”.

This was technically proficient but unimaginative stuff, from the opening “The Falling Sky” aping Zeppelin’s "When the Levee Breaks” to a cover of “Unchained Melody” that displayed the range of Kiszka’s voice without infusing the slightest bit of individual character into the material. Better was a take on Neil Young’s “Don’t Let It Bring You Down” in the encore, with the quartet joined by support acts Mt Joy and Hannah Wicklund for a rendition that felt loose and spontaneous, emotions in short supply elsewhere throughout this loud but tedious performance.

Comments

Considering josh at the beginning of the set notifies the crowd he was suffering with acute bronchitis, he blew me away him and the rest of the boys. Would you rather him cancel the show or listen to Jake, Sammy  and Danny showcase their talents?Everyone of them in the band is unique and highly talented And it was good to see the other boys showcase centre stage, as for the outfit changes that's part of the set and maybe Josh trying to rest his vocals? Josh was outstanding. The boys put on an amazing show and their talents are out of this world. Looking forward to their next tour. First concert seeing them and as a fresh set of ears listening to them live I was blown away

Add comment

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters