Producing arguably the widest age demographic I’ve ever seen at a concert to date, the classic rock sweethearts, Greta Van Fleet, had the outdoor portion of Stage AE sold out well before they performed in front of the crowd of 5,000. Greta Van Fleet is the modern embodiment of Led Zeppelin; with a polished and well-crafted sound that appeases rock fans of all generations. It was really something to see such a varied age group come out and support good ol’fashioned rock n’ roll.
Much of the anticipation and hype leading to Greta Van Fleet’s performance was no doubt attributed to their direct support act, CLOVES. CLOVES – real name Kaity Dunstan – is an Australian singer-songwriter whose vivacious and charming demeanor stems from her ability to capture a crowd’s attention with her buttery vocals. Getting the opportunity to not only catch her set but to snap some portraits of her as well, Dunstan is definitely a humble and personable talent that has seen a quick rise to popularity. Having only her debut EP from 2015 and a handful of singles, Dunstan attracts listeners with her mix of alternative rock and indie pop tunes.
Hitting the stage at 8pm, Dunstan came dancing on stage as she opened with “Better Now”. A performer that reminded me heavily of Maggie Rogers, Dunstan’s range was impressive as she hit each note with apparent ease, gliding around center stage simultaneously. Throughout the performance, she was showing all the poise of a well-seasoned performer, and owned every second of her 30 minute set. With such a large crowd with ranging ages, Dunstan made the most of her opportunities when it came to leaving her mark on the crowd. CLOVES is set to be the next breakout indie pop artist out there, and judging by her performance Wednesday, it really is hard to argue against that assertion.
As the moment that virtually everyone had been dying to witness finally arrived, Greta Van Fleet were greeted with a tumultuous eruption of cheers and “fuck yeahs!” from the excited Pittsburgh crowd. Frontman Josh Kiszka grinned a toothy smile and began to take his position along with the rest the band as they kicked things off with “Highway Tune”. As the opening guitar line commenced courtesy of Jake Kiszka, the rambunctious and youthful energy that Greta Van Fleet displayed washed over the crowd, urging people to jump and sing along. With each member dressed in vintage-styled attire that would make Roger Daltrey proud, I felt like I had stepped back in time to witness a much younger Led Zeppelin in all their glory. I’m guessing the Kiszka brothers and drummer, Danny Wagner, are quite used to hearing this comparison but they truly are the “second coming” of rock’s holy prophet, Led Zeppelin.
For much of the older fans that were there, I’m guessing many of them were having major cases of déjà vu. With their devilish good looks and highly nostalgic classic rock sound, Greta Van Fleet put on one of the most impressive displays of showmanship Stage AE has seen so far this year. It really is amazing that musicians as young as Greta Van Fleet have been able to garner such critical acclaim and success in such a short time. Having only their debut album of 2017 titled From the Fires in their arsenal, Greta Van Fleet turned many of their songs into extended jam sessions to account for time which was such a pleasure to see. As guitarists Jake and Sam Kiszka shredded, Josh rocked out on his tambourine in between lyrics as he danced madly around. Not only did extended versions of classic tracks off From the Fires made their way onto the setlist, but some new material and a Howlin’ Wolf cover did as well.
Playing “When the Curtain Falls” third, a new single that they just released a couple days prior to their show in Pittsburgh, I honestly don’t think I’ve heard a single track these guys have put out that I wasn’t a fan of. It seems that with every time I listen, the more and more I fall in love with their sound. This feeling was only intensified with their live performance, in which they sounded even fuller and more kickass. The highlight – for me – was when they encored with “Black Smoke Rising” and “Safari Song”, two masterfully crafted songs that speak volumes to the level of talent these young artists possess. It was the perfect way to wrap a seemingly perfect performance. From the young kids riding on their parent’s shoulders to the biker jacket wearing, fu manchu sporting old guys, Greta Van Fleet proved that music can bring together people of different age, race, background, etc. For more information on Greta Van Fleet’s current headlining tour, hit the link here!