Eagles of Death Metal at The Olympia Theatre, Dublin, 10th November 2015
This wasn’t just a concert. It was a party; a celebration of girls, sessioning, rock and roll. And guitarist, Dave Catching’s majestic beard. Frontman, Jesse Hughes epitomises everything great about California with all the nous of a carnal-blues idol turned Protestant minister.
Eagles of Death Metal dabble in sleaziness without becoming misogynistic. They’re interactive without it being formulaic or exclusive. They’re grandiose without not being organic. There was no Josh Homme on this occasion due to his commitments to other projects. But that doesn’t matter. Anyone to dismiss them as merely a Homme side-project is ignorant and naïve.
Hughes is the main point of attraction. He’s the coolest, most unaffected and comical frontman to ever grace the stage of The Olympia. He possesses all the qualities that any great rock star should have; self-deprecation, all the dance moves of your embarrassing uncle on speed. And a genuine love for his bandmates, what he is doing and the legions of fans that have swarmed into the Dame Street venue to catch this wonderful band.
Perhaps too many people were permitted onto the floor. But that doesn’t really matter. The rapport among the band and the fans was well and truly rarefied once the first sight of the stars of the show is caught and the first chords of 2004 smash, I Only Want You rupture across the auditorium.
What followed was a punchy set packed with stylish and infectious riffs, pounding drumwork and laughs galore. For an album that has been out for less than 7 weeks, tracks from ‘Zipper Down’ were as rapturously received as anything from the set.
For a lot of frontmen, the old trick of holding out the microphone aloft in hopeful expectation of the crowd darting the words back to you can go tits up. Not for Hughes.
This is as much a testament to the commitment of their fans as it is to the band themselves. Other highlights from the first part of their set included Whorehoppin (Shit Goddamn) and I Got a Feelin (Just Nineteen). Hughes’ vocal range is astounding. No man with as fly a moustache as that should be capable of the falsetto he can reach.
They departed after the sublime Wannabee in L.A which Hughes refuted praising Ireland and his heritage. But they soon returned for an encore which brought The Reverend, fan favourite, I Want You So Hard (Boy’s Bad News) and Speaking in Tongues on which the rest of the band leave briefly for, allowing Catching to exhibit his magnificent skills on the guitar. It felt at this point as if the entire set was building up to this climax, when all of a sudden the rest of the band return to the stage to bow out what can only be described as a masterclass in rock and roll. Praise be to Jesse!