Eagles - live
Eagles - image by Ross Watson

Eagles of Death Metal – The Institute, Birmingham (6th November 2015) – LIVE REVIEW

This Eagles of Death Metal article was written by Christian Barnett. Edited by Zoe Anderson. Header image by Ross Watson.

What with pastures being destitute n’all, rock and roll desperately needs an ego. Rock and roll needs a peacocking, infectiously strutting, dick-swinging steam train. Rock and roll needs to be piquant and venomous. It needs a solidified, inseparable shityapants dynamic to deliver the definitive blow and decapitate an already bludgeoned rock and roll trance corpse. Enough of this wimp shit already! All you goopy juveniles out there fulla throbbing lust and seeking an outlet for your urges, please bend an ear and celebrate responsibly with one Eagles of Death Metal.

After all, if you’re to really make waves in this wasteland it kinda helps to have the world’s greatest living frontman in tow. That’s why the real crux here, the pulse of their eruptive rattle, the rollickin’ bedrock of all that is from henceforth deemed unholy (that which melts veins/pounds dusty heads/wakens groins from slumber) is one blessed Jesse Hughes. He swashes with a total stoned-camp-frantic-flouncing-permanently spasming shtick, overwhelmingly preacher-like in delivery, unhinged and eruptive beneath the gown just waiting for somebody to come and try to tie him down. This is particularly enforced on the hipster-baiting, existentialist crisis of ‘Silverlake’ and the funkier ‘Complexity,’ whereby he abandons the guitar and stalks the jaws of the stage like a crazed hoarse afro wolf.

Sure, songs like ‘I Only Want You’ and ‘Don’t Speak (I Came To Make A Bang!) or ‘Wannabe in L.A.’ all nustle a familiar bosom, it’s proudly, unapologetically, defiantly prototypical and reductive, and it no doubt rollicks like a million records before it, but it arises from a noble intention.

You see, you can always stir a pittance with your hollow aggravations calling it wild, calling it sloppy, even lambasting it by calling it a rehash (which is really sneery bullshit code for they can’t fathom anything original even if it planted a hot one right in the kisser) but there’s far more important things to bother with here than originality. It’s heartfelt and true. Each clatter lingers with a devastating gust. It’s loose but biting and pertinent, cranked and angry, commandingly shattering, rich and thick and you’re too busy frolickin’ (even during Duran Duran’s ‘Save A Prayer’) to even begin dissecting any of these wee ditties for those ears back home. It’s an attitude, a mentality. No breath is ever wasted, no head left intact.

However, amidst the stew of unfettered smut and sleaze, the hedonistic focal; there’s an overarching appreciativeness. Hughes seems openly thankful and grateful for the opportunity to strut before crammed theatres and, still, after more than a decade, never takes it for granted. You won’t ever catch him wasting a dream, you’ll only see him humbled. It was all exhibited in the encore with impromptu Black Sabbath covers and eagerly answered calls for requests. Concertedly, this breeds a profound almost irresistible sincerity. It more than legitimatizes the self-indulgences and juggles with both the playfulness and the riotousness; a real purposeful gravity, albeit with a heap of fuzz and more dick jokes.

As one of rock and roll’s scrupulous moralists, Eagles of Death Metal play the only way they seem to know. The righteous way. Loud, rallying and uncompromisingly defiant, with enough self-awareness for it never to become asinine. Nosediving right into the nethers of debauchery, all grease ‘n’ smear and an already stinking reputation, to scrawl an even more indecorous figure. Besides, why put your faith in somebody that doesn’t believe? Look around… it doesn’t all sparkle like it once did, so if you wan to stop drawing misunderstood blood looking for a cause, then you’ll be hard put to find a band with such devastating devotion that are so readily available to your hungry little noggin.