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Eagles of Death Metal

Feb. 13, Juanita’s.

  • EAGLE OF DEATH METAL: Jesse Hughes.

I heard grumbling from a few folks pre-show about Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) not being part of the tour, but enough didn't know or didn't care for the show not to sell out.

I got to the bar about 10:30 p.m., just in time to see one and a half songs from Smoke Up Johnny. The half came when the dudes got cut off mid-song. That didn't sit too well with Matt Floyd, who quickly fired off a “fuck you!” to the unseen whoever cut them off. The crowd jeered. It only had eyes for the Eagles of Death.

Which is funny (though not at all surprising), since there's not much that separates the bands' sounds.

Still, it's not hard to see why Hollywood embraces the Eagles of Death Metal so fully. The band looks like a cartoon for cock-rock decadence. Friday, the bassist looked dead behind the eyes. The guitar player looked like Frank Black's dad, hairless except for a thin Mohawk strip and with thick-framed black glasses and a healthy neck flap. The drummer, whose regular gig is in Queens of the Stone Age, looked like an ape, with burly, be-tatted arms and big, always-puckered lips. When he hit a lick he really liked, he'd blow a giant bubble of bubblegum. He also sweated and spit so much that every time he'd hit his toms liquid would fly up like a sprinkler.

And then there was Jesse Hughes up front. With a thick mustache and a kind of pompa-mullet, he certainly looked the part. And what he lacked in vocal strength and guitar chops, he made up twofold with charisma. Preening. Leg-kicking. Wearing rock-star sunglasses. And, especially, convincing the crowd that it was the best ever.

The crowd gave back, singing and fist-pumping and jumping and flashing breasts along to the Eagles' boogie. No matter that every song started like “Rock and Roll All Nite.” Derivative doesn't matter when you're dancing. And at the end of the night it smelled like a success — sweat, spilled beer and throw-up.

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