American rockers Eagles of Death Metal look set to continue a life on the road as they played to a sold out den Atelier last night.
The purveyors of good time rock n roll had their lives turned upside down along with many others in a devastating terror attack last year as they played the sold out Bataclan venue which left 89 fans dead.
Since the attacks the audience and band have tried to come to terms with the night with frontman Jesse Hughes coming out with some less than savoury comments about the venues security guards and gun laws which saw the band being dropped by two French festivals earlier this year. However you take Hughes’ political views it’s best to leave all that at the door as when you enter his world of warm sweaty venues like Atelier last night; it’s here where he shines.
As he walked onto the stage with red suspenders and sun glasses whilst sporting the oversized moustache, you knew that this is not a man that does things in half measures, his larger than life persona filled the venue as much as the music itself.
As they delved into their back catalogue of songs from 2004’s opener “I Only Want You” to last years “The Reverend” it’s clear this band are in no hurry to shack up the genre in any way, their lyrics are full of humour and sleaze, and they ensure their good time jams continue with a groove as Hughes is always one for a good dance and some classic rock star flirting.
Holding the attention of anyone who dared engage him directly, which seemed to be quite a few of the audience, he would throw some posses their way and some winks or two, this was proper rock stage craft right here. After the first couple of songs they already had a bra thrown on stage and one of the crowd managed to catch a plectrum with their forehead to the sheer delight of all on stage.
The consummate frontman, Hughes would go off on amusing short anecdotal rants about the band members in a southern American preacher style as if he was saving our souls with the power of rock n roll before finishing each story with “And that is why I wrote this next song”.
There weren’t just smiles and laughter coming from the crowd but the band all looked to be having a good night too, if Hughes wasn’t laughing at his own stories he was dancing away and grinning from ear to ear.
Finishing the main set on “I Love You All the Time” the catchy 50’s doo wop-style track backed by crunching guitar it’s hard to not sway along. After the encore Hughes came back to do a few numbers on his own including an a cappella “I’ll Blow You a Kiss in the Wind” which he dedicated to Nick Alexander who was part of the crew on that fateful night in Paris as well as everyone else who lost their lives.
It must be quite a horrifying experience to get up on stage each night in the same environment of their most troubled memory and perform but they know how to keep it light hearted as they finished up with a cover of Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream” before “I Want You So Hard” and then “Speaking in Tongues” which saw Hughes make his way to the balcony playing the solo from just above the sound desk with the crowd clambering for their phones as they finished with one last trick to put smiles upon all the sweaty faces.
Eagles of Death Metal aren’t a band that are here to change the face of music, they are all about having a good time and if that is what you want then look no further. Even now after being associated with such tragic events it’s good to see that they’re trying to move forward and see the humour and light in the world that some cannot.
den Atelier – 23.08.16