It was only last November when terrorist gunmen opened fire at the Bataclan rock club in Paris where the Eagles of Death Metal were playing. Nearly one hundred people lost their lives in the club that night, and members of the band, like many other survivors, were deeply traumatized by the events. It was therefore truly inspiring to see EODM back on a stage in at Stubb’s in Austin on Saturday, rocking through a monster setlist to a large supportive crowd at Stubbs.

The night began with opening act Paul Cauthen, formerly of Sons of Fathers, who brought a soulful Texas baritone that started off the night at a low simmer which was soon elevated by the band that followed,Thelma and the Sleaze. Exuding a strong grasp on female sexuality while pounding out powerful choruses in a grungy and almost laissez-faire way. Thelma and the Sleaze brought enough attitude and pure rock and roll to prep the crowd for EODM.

Lead singer of EODM, Jesse Hughes, is no wallflower. Outspoken may be an understatement in characterizing the ultra-conservative, Trump-supporting, NRA card-carrying, religious zealot of a frontman. While the music was seemingly at the forefront of the night, as opening tracks like “I Only Want You,” “Don’t Speak” and “Secret Plans” whipped the crowd into a frenzy, it became clear that main attraction of the night was going to be Jesse’s ego.

The band blasted through heavy tracks like “Silverlake,” “Got A Woman” and “Now I’m a Fool.” Yet, each song they played was prefaced with a rambling explanation, or accompanied by a tedious anecdote from Hughes that was bereft of brevity.

“I don’t give a shit about what people say or think about me!”, Hughes announced as a seemingly rock and roll cliché. However, this was more likely a direct reference to the controversy surrounding Hughes‘ recent inflammatory remarks regarding the Bataclan shooting being an inside job by club security and that most all of French Muslims knew about the impending attacks.

Since his remarks, EODM have had numerous tour and festival dates cancelled but Hughes doesn’t seem to care. “I always feel at home when I come to Texas!”

The highlight of the music last night came in a cover of an old Stealers Wheel’s hit “Stuck In The Middle With You” which was redone with the lyrics “Stuck In the Metal With You”

A powerhouse set finish included hits like “Wannabe in L.A.,” “I Like to Move In The Night”, and “I Love You All The Time.” The encore included a solid ten minutes of Jesse Hughes onstage alone playing bits of songs solo but mostly proselytizing to the audience and making inside jokes to non-visible band members.

The band came back on to finish off their set with a cover of Duran Duran’s “Save A Prayer” and then play their most raucous hit “I Want You So Hard.” EODM played a solid 90-minute set that was intense and engaging and almost everything you would want from a rock band, except for the shameless injection of Jesse Hughes’ personality into every facet of the show.Eagles-Of-Death-Metal-11-578x289

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