The humor, playfulness, and pure rock joy of EODM triumphed, delighted, drained, and rocked the devoted audience.
The Pageant, St. Louis
Palm Desert, Calif., quintet Eagles of Death Metal delivered a stadium-style spectacle of rock on Tuesday night. Although the heaviness and darkness of the events in Paris were on every fan’s mind—and front man Jesse Hughes referenced the events several times throughout the set—the humor, playfulness, and pure rock joy of EODM triumphed, delighted, drained, and rocked the devoted St. Louis audience.
Hitting the stage to the strains of Cheech and Chong’s 1970s classic, “Earache My Eye,” EODM were on fire from the first chord, and the crowd was on their feet until the last note and cymbal crash faded. EODM launched into “I Only Want You” from their 2004 release Peace, Love, Death Metal. As with many EODM tunes, they sport big hooks, danceable grooves, and great sing-along choruses. The nearly two-hour show featured all the feel-good hits, including rockers “Silverlake (K.S.O.F.M), “Cheery Cola,” “Whorehoppin’ (Shit, Goddamn),” and “English Girl.” While there were plenty moments of levity, hilarious stage banter, corny jokes, and Hughes’ spastic and enthusiastic dance moves, the show also provided moments of serious, heartfelt reflection, humility, and sadness.
Hughes spoke of his love for St. Louis, including bowling, the Moonrise Hotel, and the shops along the Delmar Loop. He recalled their first show here many years ago, when they opened for New York’s new-new wavers, the Strokes. He also took several opportunities to thank the audience for their support, enthusiasm, and love. An emotional and humbled Hughes seemed to be relishing the moment and finding solace in the crowd. He even addressed a member of the audience in broken French; it was something special, and every fan knew it.
In addition to all the EODM classics, there were awesome covers of songs like Stealers Wheel 1972 classic hit, “Stuck in the Middle with You,” which tonight became “Stuck in the Metal,” as well as a poignant cover of Duran Duran’s “Save a Prayer,” which appears on EODM’s Zipper Down album. (Duran Duran announced last year that they would donate their publishing royalties to the victims of the deadly Paris attacks.)
Toward the end of the show, Hughes returned to the stage accompanied only by his guitar and raw voice, and belted out a great version of the Rolling Stones’ “Brown Sugar.” This song reflects the band’s fascination and reverence for the 1970s’ indulgence, bombast, and stadium-rock tradition of big shows, complete with big gestures, big songs, and big, anthem-like choruses.
Lest anyone thinks that Hughes accomplished all of this on his own, they’d be wrong. The rest of EODM are great players who add their individual flourishes and stamps on the tunes and live show. Drummer Jorma Vik was the master of sick fills, cowbell magic, and solid, metronomic timekeeping. It’s often said that a band is only as good as the drummer, and Vik was a testament to this belief. Darlin’ Dave Catching was a bearded guitar god, stabbing and stroking his trusty Gibson Flying V. Matt McJunkins held it down on bass, adding great backing vocals and slick moves. Guitarist/vocalist Eden Galindo was the subject of much ribbing and the butt end of a couple of Hughes’ jokes. His tasteful leads and riffing duplicated the Stones’ dual-guitar interplay and weaving. EODM is a band in every sense, and these guys were tighter than a funeral drum. (They also realize that it’s about having fun, giving it your all, and not taking it too seriously.)
Nashville all-female quartet Thelma and the Sleaze opened the show, channeling Janis Joplin, Southern swamps, truck stops, and bawdy humor. Their drunken set featured jokes about donuts, truck stops, and gender reassignment surgeries. What they lacked in musical prowess, they made up for in humor and grand gestures. | Doug Tull