Aftermath: Eagles of Death Metal at Meridian
Photos by Craig Hlavaty
It's super-hard to intelligently review a party band. You can't very well sit in one corner of the venue, gently stroking your scholarly beard jotting down notes on each intricate riff and drum fill. In the interest of science, you have to immerse yourself in the atmosphere and pray that you find some sort semblance of rational thought.
Eagles of Death Metal is a party band, through and through. There is no time for shoe-gazing and opining on political strife or social injustice. EODM are artists whose medium is somewhere in your bathing-suit area. It's sexual. It's dirty. It's so devoid of pretense that when you leave a show, that everything you hear for days afterwards sounds vanilla and soulless.
The Duke Spirit opened things up with a slinky set, bringing to mind Black Rebel Motorcycle Club fronted by a caffeinated Nico. It was a perfect estrogen-tinged appetizer for the course of testosterone that was waiting. And when I reference the male hormone, I'm not talking about a chug-a-lugging backwards hat goon spilling Coors on you. I'm speaking of an almost mythological force of man. MAN. With three big country-conquering, war-winning, lusty letters.
EODM came onstage leading with their hips, slinging guitars like Vikings celebrating a battle. Lead singer Jesse "The Devil" Hughes looks like every man with a girlfriend's worst nightmare, wielding a decadently-coiffed moustache and poured into a pair of women's Levis ready to slip off rings and whisper unthinkable things.
They opened with the lead track from 2004's Peace, Love, and Death Metal, "I Only Want You." It's the kind of record Little Richard would have made if he was raised on the New York Dolls. They pulled out a few nuggets from the latest release Heart On. The stand-out was the title track, with the line "What good's a heart if it ain't on your sleeve?" which proves that even leather-booted boys have hearts too.
From then on, they made us sweat, they made us scream. They never wavered in wanting the crowd, especially the ladies, to have fun. It's lecherous and shameful, and may smell like a bucket of industrial-strength sleaze. But damned if they didn't cover the Rolling Stones' "Brown Sugar" as their closer. You gotta get behind that. - Craig Hlavaty