Michigan four-piece band Greta Van Fleet have hit the big time with the sort of electrifying, hard-rock music that makes you want to bang your head in glee. The family band formed in 2012 consisting of brothers vocalist Josh Kiszka,guitarist Jake Kiszka, bassist Sam Kiszka, with Danny Wagner on drums. They debuted their first full album Anthem of the Peaceful Army in October and have hit the road coming to Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom for three nights in December.
Right out of the box, Greta Van Fleet captures the audience’s attention with hard-and-fast guitar hooks, jaw-dropping vocals and hard-charging drumming. The songs they perform sound like they are 30 years older than the members of the band (the band members are all younger than 22 years old). The sound(and look) of the band is classic rock, almost rock ‘n’ roll nostalgia. So much so that Greta Van Fleet has taken criticism for being a Xerox copy of the legendary Led Zeppelin. Josh Kiszka gave a slight acknowledgment of it when he said, “there’s always going to be mixed reviews.”
To be fair, the dudes in Greta Van Fleet are talented musicians. They can absolutely rock. And while many a band have tried to copy Led Zeppelin, not many have the talent to pull it off. Greta Van Fleet might. Jake Kiszka’s guitar prowess was so masterful,but his brother Josh’s wailing vocals are what really elevate this band into the stratosphere.
There is something raw and animalistic to Josh Kiszka’s vocals. Even though he is a smallish man(maybe still a boy at age 22) his vocals project power. There was something very masculine, even sexual, about his performance. The front row, which was all young women, definitely took notice. Josh milked it a little by throwing flowers to those girls and blowing them kisses. Classic front-man moves.
While the front row was entirely made up of young women, the rest of the crowd was as wide-ranging a crowd as you could find. Every age was represented. There were forty and fifty-somethings wearing the same Greta Van Fleet t-shirt as the twenty year-olds. That says something about how popular this band has become.
For the encore, Greta Van Fleet came out and performed Highway Tune, which is a song that helped them blow up; it hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Songs chart. The song shows off what is best about the band: it has a great guitar riff, wailing vocals over a heavy drum beat. What’s not to like?
So, is Great Van Fleet just a fad? Are they just filling in while other rock bands are absent? Not a chance. With the rock genre sluggish these days, it is nice to see a band with talent just absolutely electrify a crowd. You can’t see Led Zeppelin live anymore, but you can see Greta Van Fleet. And you should. Three sold out shows in Chicago is proof that these guys are the real deal.
Photos by K. Joseph Fotos. Full Gallery Here.