[18 December 2008]
It’s not hard to assume the Eagles of Death Metal (EoDM) are a joke. Their very name brings at least a grin to the face of people who have never heard of the band. And Josh Homme, who plays drums and sings backup when he isn’t producing or playing in Queens of the Stone Age, said he thought of the name because he came up with music that sounded like the Eagles playing death metal. Later on, he admitted the EoDM sounded more like bluegrass mixed with Canned Heat vocals and stripper drums. Either way, you can’t help but laugh. Then, there are the nicknames of each collaborator who has graced a track on the band’s three albums. You can call frontman Jesse Hughes “the Devil” if you like or, even better, “Boots Electric.” And Homme’s been called the likes of “Carlo Von Sexron” and “Baby Duck.” Names and aliases aside, though, the music is one of the bigger culprits of inspiring laughter. Hughes fills his songs with dirty, sex-driven lyrics that you cannot help but chuckle at and he offers up more adlibs then most rappers—just try to find an EoDM track without a “Yeah!”, “Work it out, baby!”, or some kind of erotic grunt. But after seeing Hughes and company tear through 25 songs, including one amazingly on-point cover of “Brown Sugar”, I can assure you that this band is no joke.
The energetic quartet from Los Angeles shared the bill with the Duke Spirit, who put on a show rivaling that of the headliner. Comprised of four guys and one lady, frontwoman Liela Moss, these English shoegaze-cum-garage-rockers played an enjoyable set. Particularly surprising was Moss’s outstanding stage-presence. Draped in a feather vest, she danced, belted out her lyrics, and kept everyone intrigued. She and her boys were particularly impressive while playing tracks like the slow-burning “Dog Roses” and the feedback-drenched/psychedelic “Hello to the Floor”. “The Step and the Walk” was just as moving as the others. Moss dedicated the track to the EoDM and used it as a means of getting our hips warmed up.
After a brief intermission during which the Paradise became packed and the booze continued to flow, EoDM took the stage to NWA’s “Straight Outta Compton”. Boots Electric was joined by guitarist Darlin’ Dave Catching, Joey “Sexi Mexi” Castillo on drums, and bassist Brian “Big Hands” O’Connor. You may know Castillo as the latest Queens of the Stone Age drummer and Catching, well, he has played in numerous acts including Queens of the Stone Age and the Desert Sessions. The band led off with “I Only Want You”, a smooth transition before bringing the heat known as “Don’t Speak (I Came to Make a Bang)”. After Hughes hammed it up a bit, a flurry of tracks—“Bad Dream Mama”, “Heart On”, and “Now I’m a Fool”—flew by in record time. The nonstop pace of the show, which only halted briefly between songs for tuning, kept everyone shakin’ their asses and throwing their hands in the air. It’s rare to see a crowd, particularly a Boston crowd, get so loose at a show that doesn’t have a rapper or DJ onstage. But, obviously, EoDM are all about making those hips move, so it wasn’t too surprising.
“So Easy” and “English Girl”, two tracks off the band’s debut, followed and proved that the show was not just to promote the band’s latest album, Heart On, which dropped in late October. EoDM were looking to cater to fans old and new, both of which were in attendance as people shouted out requests spanning the band’s three albums. Then, it was time for the all-too-fun and danceable “Secret Plans”, which set us up for the unexpectedly stoner-rock-influenced “Already Died”. The dreary air shifted to a ‘70s party for their re-working of “Stuck in the Middle” named “Stuck in the Metal”. Lead Heart On single “Wannabe in LA” played next and the upbeat, rug-cuttin’ anthems continued.
Not one person in the club remained still for “I Like to Move in the Night”, with Darlin’ Dave hamming it up on guitar, and “Anything ‘Cept the Truth”, one of the night’s best. That track, however, was nearly topped by “Whorehoppin’ (Shit, Goddamn)”, when Hughes proclaimed that Catching might have had a few too many as the guitarist continued playing to the crowd with a huge grin on his face. And that grin got bigger for EoDM’s biggest cut, “I Want You So Hard (Boy’s Bad News)”. The track hit epic proportions as we all sang along with the breakdown before the band kicked back into it and played a minor reprise before heading backstage.
The show, of course, was far from over. The Devil walked back out to a deafening roar as he grabbed the mic and summed the night up perfectly: “What a fine place this is. We’re having the shits and giggles time of our life!” Typically, you can see right through a musician trying to get on the crowd’s good side like this, but that exclamation was hardly the first from Hughes. Throughout the set, he thanked us more times than I could count. In particular, he was appreciative of being welcomed back to the United States by such a high-energy audience—the band had just wrapped up a leg of their tour in Canada, where apparently the fans weren’t as into it. Or maybe Hughes was just bullshitting us? Either way, we ate it up. He then played solo versions of “Midnight Creeper” and “Bag O’ Miracles” before the full band returned. Another QotSA-drenched track, “Cheap Thrills”, filled the club followed by Darlin’ Dave shredding a mini-solo as an intro to “Flames Go Higher”. The band then switched things up for their insanely accurate and glorious “Brown Sugar” cover that truly could not have been more spot-on. It was back to originals, though, for “Cherry Cola”, “Kiss the Devil”, and one track I unfortunately could not identify. As we all stifled any signs of tiring out, Hughes and the boys closed their spotless performance with “Speaking in Tongues”. Had they not left the stage, they easily could have kept playing until at least 3 in the morning. And I am sure nearly everyone there would have remained.