By Dan Williams
Greta Van Fleet blew into Philly Saturday night during a torrential downpour. Soaked fans filled the sold out and dangerously overcrowded Electric Factory ready to rock. And rock they did with a tight twelve-song set.
The crowd was a unique mix of fans ranging from young teens claiming the front rows against the barricade up to folks in their sixties excited to hear a band single-handedly reigniting the Classic Rock sound of the past. There were a number of local and regional musical artists in the house as well as our friend Jacky Bam Bam of WMMR.
When the lights went up, the bandmates strolled out with arms full of white flowers and began throwing them out to the crowd. A nice touch, especially with singer Josh Kiszka dressed in a 60’s style ¾ length tunic. The band launched into “Highway Tune,” their first single with style and power. Kiszka’s vocal gymnastics were on full display as was his mature command of the big stage. Just one year after being signed to Lava Records, the band is remarkably professional and ready for bigger things.
Formed in the small Mid-Michigan tourist town of Frankenmuth, Michigan in 2012, the band includes Kiszka brothers Jake on guitar, Sam on bass and Josh on vocals. Drummer Danny Wagner rounds out the full blues-driven sound that fills venues across the country. In April 2017, Apple named Greta Van Fleet New Artist of the Week and by September of the same year, they topped Billboard’s U.S. Mainstream Rock for four weeks in a row. From there, they were on their way opening for fellow Michigan native Bob Segar, went on tour with The Struts, performed with Elton John and hit the headline and festival circuits.
In addition to Josh’s acrobatic vocal prowess, brother Jake is a consummate lead guitarist with classic blues-rock chops and showmanship. During the guitar-heavy “Edge of Darkness,” he stretched out for a long, animated solo complete with behind-the-head shredding. No shortage of risk-taking with these guys. Brother Sam was equally adept on bass keeping the twins grounded along with drummer Wagner.
The show is well staged with massive upstage lighting rigs and professional staging from start to finish. Once this tour ends, the logical next step for the Kiszka brothers from tiny Frankenmuth will be to graduate to 10,000+ theaters and arenas. Here’s hoping they find new musical directions in their next releases to break free of Classic Rock artist comparisons.
Now that they have our attention, let’s see where they are meant to go from here.
More info and upcoming tour dates on GVF’s website!
Photos by Dan Willams