Posts Tagged ‘Foo Fighters’

All bands have to start somewhere. All bands have to go through growing pains. The Foo Fighters are no exception. When grunge band Nirvana disbanded in 1994 due to lead singer Kurt Cobain’s untimely death, drummer Dave Grohl wasn’t ready to quit music. Most would have thought he would join some other band – in fact he got offered a spot with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – but he was already looking in another direction: starting his own band. After putting together a few tracks on which he played all the instruments and wrote all the lyrics, Grohl released the demo under the name Foo Fighters. He then got himself a support band and the rest is history. They recently announced an indefinite hiatus and in light of that I decided to let you all know why you should love the Foo Fighters.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            They have no egos. When performing a live show, they act like big kids who are living their dream. I’ve seen them play to a full house at Madison Square Gardens. I’ve seen them play a two hour set at Lollapalooza in the pouring rain without missing a chord, note or lyric, and without a complaint. I’ve seen them play a small venue in Montreal where a friend of mine wormed his way to the front and begged Dave to play “Everlong” – which he did immediately without hesitation. Irrespective of the phase of their career, their popularity and the size of the venue, they demonstrated the same dedication to their music and gratitude to their fans. Not to mention, they don’t take themselves seriously. If you’re not convinced, check out any of their music videos. From “Big Me” – a spoof on the ridiculous Mentos commercials around at that time; to “Learn to Fly” – where band members play all the characters in the video, they definitely know how to make fun of themselves. They’re not trying to be profound and philosophical, or dark and tortured souls – they’re just having a good time playing music for a living.

They know how to change things up. Foo Fighters’ sound is very guitar heavy, always has been. What started out as more of a grunge sound, evolved to more rock and they even explored an acoustic side, when they released the two disc album, In Your Honour. One disc acoustic, one disc rock, it gave fans a glimpse into the band’s diversity, an insight into how talented they really are. Their songs can be angry and loud (think “Best of You“) or slow and quiet (think “Home“); not to mention that even within one track, it can go from really loud to really soft (think “Let it Die.”)  They’ve recorded albums in big studios, as well as in Dave’s basement and garage. They’ve recorded digitally and for their most recent release, Wasting Light, it was all recorded on tape, in analog. A difficult task demanding perfection because it can’t be changed, fiddled around with or edited once it’s done. Unless you want to start recording the track from the beginning. They’ve had three different guitar players, two different drummers and have worked with a number of producers, including the man behind Nirvana’s Nevermind, the one and only Butch Vig. They never get boring.

They’re real people, who just happen to be rock stars. In 2011, they set out on a Garage Tour. A contest in which lucky fans from a few North American cities, won the privilege of having Foo Fighters perform live in their garages. They literally go into these small garages, play a kick ass show, mingle with fans watching and in the Toronto (Milton) tour, they even allowed the winning fan to play a couple of tracks alongside them. Pretty unbelievable for a band of their caliber and status. That being they have won one American Music Award, two MTV Video Music Awards, three Brit Awards and a mere eleven Grammys. They’ve released seven studio albums, all of which were certified platinum in Canada (80,000 copies sold); 2005’s In Your Honour earned that certification three times. They’re just a bunch of guys who like to jam together every now and again; they’re people I’d want to hang out with on a Wednesday night.

Their music is exactly the same way: it’s not egotistical,  it keeps changing and it’s real. It’s just rock ‘n roll. The lyrics aren’t complicated, there’s no deeper meaning; they sing about the everyday, experiences an average person would go through, which makes it so much easier to relate to them. Fans can’t get enough because they’re able to pull off the impossible: they’re as famous as they are, without actually being famous. The band as it stands now consists of Dave Grohl (vocals/guitar), Taylor Hawkins (drums), Pat Smear (guitar), Nate Mendel (bass guitar) and Chris Shiflett (guitar.) Who knows how long their hiatus will last, who knows if they’ll ever make more music together again. What I do know is, this is why I love the Foo Fighters. And will, everlong.

The final day’s line up included Ryan Bingham and the Horses, 80s band The Cars and alt-rockers Arctic Monkeys. I got an early start because I wanted to see Toronto’s own City and Colour. I’ve seen them live twice but have such a strong love for them that I had to see them again. The sun was beating down stronger than any of the other days with zero humidity. Beads of sweat were dripping down from everywhere by just standing still. I’ve never seen them this up close and Dallas and the boys were as heartwarming as ever, giving shout outs to Canada as often as possible, telling stories about how they used to attend Lollapalooza growing up and being humbled by being able to now play it. There’s just something so Canadian about these guys, that for those 60 minutes, it felt like home.

The next few hours consisted of me walking around the park, taking in the atmosphere, checking out the food stalls (anything from gyros to chicken tikka to pulled pork), getting some great swag (I’m a huge sucker for band t-shirts) and experiencing the oh-so-disgusting port-a-potties. Shudder. After a brief rainstorm (not helping the mud puddle situation) during which bands continued to play, and hard core fans remained outside the sun came back out just in time to catch Nas and Damian Marley. Nas was great on the mic, rocking a Blue Jays hat, and Damian even did his own rendition of his father’s “Could You Be Loved”. The Foo Fighters were headlining and though I saw them years ago, I was especially looking forward to hearing them play an acoustic set, specifically for “Everlong”. But about ten minutes in, the skies turned into the apocalypse and within seconds it started to rain like I’ve never seen before, and I got drenched. I was uncomfortable, covered in mud, shivering and had water coming out of my pockets. My co-goers didn’t have the strength to wait it out, but I had to. In a true battle of me vs. the music, the music won.

People were walking around barefoot, others created mud slides, a lot of people losing clothing. I trudged through the mud almost losing a flip flop along the way, and made it over to watch Kid Cudi. The storm slowly became a drizzle and he got the crowd going right away: people were dancing around, feeling the music and it was clear that we were all there for the music. After warming up to a few of his tracks, I made my way over to see Deadmau5. His stage set up was glorious with lasers, Deadmau5 heads and strobe lights flashing along with the beats. The mud had reached my calves by now, I was still soaking wet but as soon as I heard my fellow Canadian remix Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger”, all I could do was listen, take it all in and appreciate every moment.

What a weekend! I realize the idea of standing all day in the blistering heat, sweating, people crowding your personal space and if you’re barely 5′ like me, not having the greatest visibility may not sound like your cup of tea. And of course it’s more comfortable watching shows when you have a seat, when they’re elevated and you’re in your comfort zone. But I kid you not, there is nothing in the world that can replicate the energy that you feel when you’re right in the middle of it all. Sure, you can watch videos, but it’s just not the same. Your heart starts racing and it literally feels like you’re having the time of your life. The whole crowd moving together, singing together and just feeling the music together, is something everyone needs to experience because I can’t even describe it – and that’s saying something.