The marquee at the Paramount Theatre Saturday read Them Crooked Vultures, but really all you need to know is that John Paul Jones was there. The band is the latest musical beast in the sub-genre of rock known as the supergroup, and it features vocalist and guitarist Josh Homme, who fronts desert rockers Queens of the Stone Age, drummer Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters and Nirvana fame, and Jones, who played bass in some band you'êve likely heard of called Led Zeppelin.
As you'êd expect, Them Crooked Vultures sounds like a sum of its parts with hard-hitting drums, fuzzed-out guitars and heavy grooves inspired by classic rock. In concert Grohl'ês drumming sounds like thunderclaps from the heavens. Homme'ês guitar provides the band'ês distinct sonic signature, and Alain Johannes, Queens of the Stone Age contributor and formerly of the band Eleven, adds depth as the group'ês touring second guitarist. This all made Them Crooked Vultures'ê 90-minute show rightfully feel epic, but it was Jones who served as the band'ês MVP.
Jones, 63, was not only the band'ês low-end anchor he was its most lively member to watch. He took to the keys for a couple of songs, played a bass with light-up frets for one song and even broke out a keytar for the loungey 'êInterlude With Ludes.'ê During 'êCaligulove'ê he pumped his fists in the air along to Grohl'ês drums and swayed from side to side while not playing. Maybe it was all muscle memory from his Zep days but it looked like he remembered how much fun it to rock out onstage, and it appeared as if he was the Vulture having the most fun. That'ês not to say the other two superstars didn'êt hold up their end of the supergroup bargain. Homme was a great frontman, and watching Grohl drum live is like watching a master effortlessly display the skills of his craft. The man has no parallel in modern rock when it comes to attacking the kit.
Typically a supergroup is bigger than the groups whose members comprise it and it was clear Grohl and Homme grasped that concept. The two wore continuous smiles throughout the set and they seemed more like giddy Zeppelin fanboys than platinum-selling rock stars. However, the scope of Them Crooked Vultures didn'êt seem to faze Jones too much and perhaps it was because this isn'êt his first rodeo when it comes to supergroups. After all, he was a part of Led Zeppelin. Rock bands don'êt get much bigger than that.
Here is a video of Them Crooked Vultures playing "Elephants" at the Paramount.