Ah, to be 21 and selling out concerts across the country. The Michigan quartet consisting of brothers Josh (vocals), Jake (guitar), and Sam (bass/keys) Kiszka and their close friend Danny Wagner (drums) have the boyish looks to attract younger, X-marked-on-their-hands fans, but there’s something else about them that is attracting fans of all ages. Take a listen to the first guitar lick and yell of “Highway Tune” from their debut EP Black Moon Rising and you'll likely come to the same conclusion that many others already have. It’s Led Zeppelin all over again, from the guitars to the Robert Plant-like vocals. There’s a bit more to them than that, but the favorable comparisons don't hurt for a band that’s just breaking out. With this initial buzz, they have handily been packing venues like DC9, their first headlining billing in DC.
Aside from Josh’s attention-grabbing voice, the Led Zeppelin comparisons exist because of the music that inspired both groups. The brothers had very diverse musical tastes growing up, but they all could agree on one thing: music like Muddy Waters, Wilson Pickett, and Joe Cocker. These influences show in their choices of covers like Howlin Wolf’s “Evil” and their Lynyrd Skynyrd-like harmonies and use of keys in "You're the One.” And as great as they are, Josh just seems ecstatic to be playing for packed venues, casually making jokes with the audience in-between songs. His front man status doesn't have the British invasion swagger of Plant or The Struts frontman Luke Spiller just yet, but he makes up for it with that voice and his Plant- and McCartney-like gibberish ad libbing in-between verses. Plus, this band of 18-21-year-olds has just one EP under their belts - they’re just getting started. Some in the music media are already bestowing the title "Rock's Next Big Thing" to Greta Van Fleet. But even if they don't become arena rockers, their locomotive-like energy will undoubtedly be taking them to bigger and better things very soon. They aren’t musical boundary-pushers just yet, but they’ve brought some significant influences back to the forefront in 2017. Their debut EP is out now through Republic Records.
Opening for Greta Van Fleet were Nashville blues rockers Goodbye June. Songs like "Bamboozler” best showcased their powerful stage presence on the tiny DC9 stage. Barely a song went by where they weren't flailing around wildly or flipping their hair every which way. By the time they threw in a "Bulls on Parade" cover at the end of their fourth songs, the crowd furiously headbanged along too. It seems that Budweiser has caught on too - they’re using the band’s “Liberty Mother” on a national TV campaign. Their latest release is Magic Valley through Interscope Records.