ROCK ON: American rock band Eagles od Death Metal at Bluesfest 2016.
ROCK ON: American rock band Eagles od Death Metal at Bluesfest 2016. Digby Hildreth

Eagles of Death Metal rock the memories away in Byron Bay

EAGLES of Death Metal have emerged from the massacre at Le Bataclan theatre in Paris with their enthusiasm for playful punk-infused rock intact.

Frontman Jesse Hughes referred just once to the terrorist attack, in which their merchandise manager died, during their highly entertaining Bluesfest set on Saturday afternoon.

"It's been a weird few months … but you mother******s right here make all that sh*t go away", he said, adding that it was good to be alive.

From the get-go, he was out to prove the truth of that, and set out to have as much fun as possible.

Indeed, while he kept threatening to play some serious rock n roll (or remove his trousers), there's very little serious about this band, starting with their fabulously ironic name.

But that's just the beginning. They come on stage to the sound of ELO's Oh Oh It's Magic and perform beneath posters of a camped-up Uncle Sam in rakish topper, red bandanna, hand on hip, limp fingers pointing at us, to say: "I only want you."

Hughes proceeds to hop around like a caffeinated Cindy Lauper, taunting ZZ-Top bearded Dave Catching and his selection of Flying V Gibsons, insisting we hear a bass solo, flicking towels at bandmates' bums then heaving them into the crowd, which loves every minute of it.

He's wearing a Pigeons of Sh*t Metal T-shirt, wide red braces and bikie boots, Freddie Mercury 'tache, wagging his rear at the audience, making raunchy remarks, having the time of his life.

It's harder edged than their albums, pumped up, tight and loud, with a Ramones'-paced intensity and fondness for sub-three minute songs, power chords and 70's Stones' sleaze.

The set is largely drawn from 2015's Zipper Down, though they close with the opening track on 2006's Death By Sexy, I Want You So Hard (Boy's Bad News) which we all faithfully yell along to.

Duran Duran's Save a Prayer for Me Now, from Zipper, is a tad lack-lustre but Hughes is performing to the converted and they lap it up.

Fast, energetic, with plenty of dazzling fret fingering: It's impossible not to smile and jump along.



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