Foo Fighters : West Hollywood The Troubadour

Grohl and company play low-key festival warm-up show...

It seems odd to think of the Foo Fighters needing to play ‘warm up shows’. Dave Grohl and company seem like an efficient machine, capable of rolling out of bed in the morning and putting on a sublime rock show ten minutes after breakfast.

But the European Festivals beckon and Grohl’s announcing, “Consider this a rehearsal”. After supporting a local Van Halen covers band two nights before at an obscure bar in the Valley, tonight is a special show at the Troubadour, for friends, fans, and family. With most of the tickets distributed via the Foo Fighters website, the lucky fans are out in force, screaming their allegiance. Dave Grohl’s sister stands by the side of the stage, and various rock buddies hover about – Jimmy from the Smashing Pumpkins, Nick and Josh from Queens Of The Stone Age, and even The Strokes are in the house. And one for the record books, former Foo‘s guitarist Pat Smear is here checking out the scene.

The jovial atmosphere this creates simply serves to enhance Dave Grohl’s image as the everyman of rock’n’roll. As the crowd sings ‘This Is A Call’, Grohl declares, “I can’t believe those are the lyrics, they’re so fucking stupid!” In fact, Grohl seems to be enjoying the move back in time – the small bar, intimate contact with the audience, close enough to touch. He chats away, smiles as they sing along. As the fans shout out requests, he good-naturedly jokes, “This ain’t no karaoke man. This is my fucking show”. But who needs requests? They play all the hits – ‘Monkeywrench’, ‘MIA’, ‘I’ll Stick Around’, ‘Learn To Fly’ – each one another reason why the Foo Fighters are still one of the greatest rock bands on the planet. There’s even a new song, ‘Two Strangers’ – maybe the Foo‘s most pop moment since ’95. Grohl declares with a mock drawl, “That’s gonna be a big hit, across the board. I’m gonna buy myself a new car…”

Jason Reynolds