It was a big night for Indianapolis rock and roll Monday at the Vogue. The Eagles of Death Metal showed up to rock a full house of fist-pumping, horn-throwing hard rock enthusiasts, only to get showed up by their openers. It was a hoot to see State get a big ol' stage to rock out on, and a nice crowd that appreciated them. Feeling the freedom of Indy's best slice of rock real estate, Dave Barajas and his cohorts tore it up in fine style.
At one point, while Barajas and Tre Murillo traded ridiculous guitar leads, bassist Birch Miller climbed the stacks to watch the proceedings with a big ol' grin on his face. Songs like "Summerdale" became an entirely different monster in this setting.
I wanted to really dig The Eagles of Death Metal. Jesse Hughes is a consummate lead man, and his backing band, two-thirds of which belong to the Queens of the Stone Age, was all fire and brimstone and Gibson guitars. "So Easy," "Wannabe in LA" and "Secret Plans" almost made up for the godawful rendition of "Stuck in the Metal with You" (their spelling). Gary Rafferty should sue - it was that bad.
But, for all his bluster and crowd baiting, Hughes was nothing special as a front dude. He likes to call himself the devil, but on this night he looked like a washed-up member of The Doobie Brothers stuck in a cold Midwestern town, doing a mediocre set for heshers who respond well to mindless stage patter. At least State brought their "A" game.