Despite what a couple of ’80s teen-sex comedies and a certain Frank Zappa song called “Valley Girl” might tell you, Los Angeles suburb the San Fernando Valley isn’t exactly a hotbed of hipsterdom. (I should know–full disclosure, I grew up there.) Its sprawling 260 miles of strip-malled suburbia is home to very few nightclubs, and its arguably most bustling rock joint, Paladino’s in my hometown of the misleadingly-exotically named Tarzana, hosts mostly cover bands, karaoke nights, and occasional has-beens. (A Holly Johnson-less Frankie Goes To Hollywood lineup once graced its stage, for instance.)
So when the Foo Fighters chose Paladino’s as the venue to premiere new songs at a secret L.A.-area show this past Tuesday–a stunt they also pulled back in 2007–it was cause for celebration for Valley girls and boys alike. Some Angelenos–including actors Ryan Phillippe, Amanda Seyfried, and Shane West–even did the unthinkable: They trekked 30 minutes over the hill, in the pouring rain, to the Valley to witness the gig.
For the 500 people in attendance, it was well worth the commute, especially since, frustratingly, no video of the eventful concert actually exists online as of this writing. The Foos not only played three new tracks from their upcoming album–“Dear Rosemary,” “White Limo,” and “Back & Forth”–but Dave Grohl and Pat Smear were joined onstage by former Nirvana bandmate Krist Novoselic for a performance of “Marigold,” the B-side to Nirvana’s “Heart-Shaped Box.”
This just might’ve been the closest thing fans will ever get to a Nirvana reunion…at least until we all hear Krist’s accordion cameo on a song titled “I Should Have Known.” That track is set to appear on the forthcoming Foos album, which is being produced by iconic Nevermind knob-twiddler Butch Vig, in Dave Grohl’s home studio in the Tarzana-adjacent San Fernando Valley town of Encino (where my grandma lives!).
You know, maybe the Valley isn’t so uncool, after all.