Greta Van Fleet Summons Classic Rock Magic at Sold-out Fillmore

Greta Van Fleet Summons Classic Rock Magic at Sold-out Fillmore

October 6, 2018 Off By Denver Thread

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Photos by Michael McGrath, Story by Amy McGrath

“I’m like, way more excited about this than I’ve been for any Dead show…” gushed the clean-cut bro in his early 20’s to his somewhat bewildered girlfriend as they navigated the stampede of fans towards the stage before last Saturday’s sold-out two day stint of the band that has been billed as the second coming of classic rock, Michigan’s Greta Van Fleet. Well ahead of the release of their major-label debut album on Oct. 19th, the band of three brothers and a friend on drums has been getting lots of attention, and gaining lots of fans- as evidenced by their two sold-out nights at the Fillmore, part of their nearly sold-out US and European Fall tour. How does a band who hasn’t yet released a full-length album fill major venues across the world?

Turns out, they do it by offering big energy, big talent, and a big, comforting blanket of nostalgia that recalls an easier, less confusing time. The Fillmore audience for Van Fleet’s show was age-diverse but they had one thing in common- a passion for feel-good classic rock. Opening act, LA’s Dorothy, set the perfect vibe with their set of witchy, Stevie Nicks meets Heart-influenced West Coast classic rock.  

Van Fleet’s feather decked 21-year-old lead singer Josh Kiszka is pure rock and roll Peter Pan pixie man, and his tenor absolutely soars. The band may be trying to downplay the degree to which Led Zeppelin has influenced their music, but take one listen to the howling Robert Plant scream that opens “Safari Song,” and I’m pretty sure you, like the Fillmore audience, will be convinced. With a flair for drama, hand raised operatically to meet the high notes, Kiszka brings an androgynous glam to the whole affair, but it’s his rocking band of brothers that propel the band’s driving sound. Guitarist Jake Kiszka elicited roars of approval with his behind the neck solos, again, borrowing from the spellbook of the classic rock guitar gods who came before him. Antics aside, these guys can really play.

Greta Van Fleet’s sound, look and stage presence all hearken back to a time when rock and roll ruled the world. Their critics will call them derivative, and it’s a fair assessment. But the sold-out Fillmore auditorium crowd didn’t care about how original the band’s look or sound is- they cared about having their faces rocked off. And if the happily dazed smiles of the hoards of fans pouring out of the Fillmore last Saturday are any indication, Greta Van Fleet is a smash success.