‘I would never boycott a place like this,” pronounced lead singer Jesse Hughes of The Eagles of Death Metal during his band’s performance at Tel Aviv’s Barby Club Sunday evening. Prior to Sunday’s Israel debut by the band, Hughes had received a letter from Roger Waters, the former frontman of Pink Floyd and an outspoken supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, asking him to reconsider performing in Israel.

“You know what I wrote back? Two words,” Hughes shouted during the prelude for his encore. After repeating the obvious two-word profanity to the large, cheering crowd, Hughes added, “Never waste your time worrying about what an asshole thinks about you.”

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The Eagles of Death Metal swept the stage at Barby during Sunday night’s performance, bringing hard rock to the Holy Land, along with great vibes.

Hughes incessantly interacted with his audience that evening, throwing his arms out to the crowd before kicking off the performance. “I’ve never felt more at home in my life,” Hughes said halfway through the show.

The Eagles hail from Palm Desert, California and have three records under their belt, with a fourth, Zipper Down, expected to land in October.

The band was formed in 1998 by Hughes and Josh Homme, who is best known for his work as the frontman of Queens of the Stone Age. According to the less than reverent band, their inspiration and group name came from wondering what a cross between the Eagles and a death metal band would sound like.

Homme was not present at Sunday’s performance, as he rarely performs with the band due to his commitments to other projects, yet his influence was present throughout the evening.

Evening highlights included opener “Bad Dream Mama” and “I Want You So Hard,” which had the audience singing along with each chorus. A piercing solo accompanied nearly every track that evening, with the string instruments overcoming the drums at many points.

Hughes’s vocal capacity was hard to match. He sang each lyric loudly and energetically, whether rockers or lengthy ballads. The crowd was highly receptive throughout the night. Arms were raised high to bring in most songs, bodies clashed in a few small moshes that erupted in front of the stage and the collective energy of the room peaked by the end of the performance.

Their motto may be “we’re not a death metal band,” but the Eagles of Death Metal sure are fun.

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