Photo courtesy of Marathon Music Works
Story by Daniel Shaw-Remeta / Contributing Writer
Many of the most talented and well-known musical artists in the country make a point of booking dates at one of Nashville’s several “high capacity” venues like Ascend Amphitheater, Municipal Auditorium or Bridgestone Arena. Music City obviously caters to fans who want to hear their favorite band of all time or an artist they’ve been listening to since their childhood. But what about the up-and-coming artists with an increasing but moderately limited following? Where does one go to get an up-close and personal experience with a band that has a growing reputation but hasn’t quite “made it” yet? Luckily, there’s venues like Marathon Music Works, with a standing capacity of only 1,500 people, that host many “big name” artists and leave room for bands who are growing rapidly but aren’t quite ready to sell out a stadium.
Some might believe the rock quartet from Frankenmuth, Michigan, Greta Van Fleet, is ready to sell out stadiums, but instead they’re packing in smaller venues like Marathon and giving audience members the up-close and personal experience that can sometimes be difficult to find in Nashville. The band, consisting of the three Kizka brothers (Josh, Jake and Sam) and Danny Wagner, has had two songs hit the number one spot of Billboard’s U.S. Mainstream Rock Chart in 2017.
The four young classic-rockers played at Marathon Monday night for the first show of two nights they are booked to play at the venue. Tickets for both nights were sold out the day they went on sale, and many of their other upcoming shows are already sold out as well.
For Monday night’s show, the band opened with the first song they ever recorded together, “Highway Tune,” which happens to be their first song to hit the top of Billboard and is likely their most well-known song. With high energy and a somewhat hubristic demeanor, they took the stage and executed their hit song flawlessly. Josh Kizka’s high-pitched “Oh’s” and “Ooohhh mama’s” mimicked the band’s recordings almost seamlessly, aside from an extended guitar solo by Jake Kizka and some brief improvised instrumentals near the end.
The band played most of their original songs from their double EP “From the Fires,” including “Edge of Darkness,” the album’s opening track, “Flower Power,” a heavily Zeppelin-influenced ’70s sounding song that includes loose drum fills, a catchy guitar riff and an organ solo, and “Talk on the Street” a quick-paced guitar-driven song with angelic harmonies and wailing high-notes from lead singer Josh Kizka. They played a couple of new songs, which are possibly soon-to-be-released songs for their next upcoming album. The band also covered the song “That’s All Right,” written by Arthur Crudup and made famous by Elvis Presley.
The young four-piece left only small amounts of time between songs to talk and interact with the crowd. The stage lighting had a simple and classic feel but nothing too fancy. They didn’t insist that the audience sing their songs to them, although everyone in the crowd pretty much did anyway. Long story short: They came to put on an exciting and memorable show, and they did. They allowed their talent and their music to speak for them, and the audience responded with singing, dancing and cheering that nearly made the floor shake.
Greta Van Fleet is playing one more night at Marathon Music Works on May 16 and will be continuing its tour in the U.S. throughout May. The band will then be touring through Europe for the first half of June. They are said to be working on a full-length album that is expected to be released some time this year.
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