Monthly Archives: December 2018

K. Michelle Dubois / Tigers and Monkeys: 12/8/18, Atlanta

Dates: December 8, 2018

Location: Star Bar, Atlanta GA

Live at the Star Bar, Atlanta, Ga, December 8th, 2018

TEXT & PHOTOS BY JOHN BOYDSTON

K. Michelle Dubois is an Atlanta singer-songwriter rocker and the first thing you should do, after reading the rest of this is check out her newest video for the song “Reckless Needs” (featuring Chris Lopez) here:

Rock fans of any certain age will dig the song and the clip, and hopefully become new Dubois fans.  Her show at Atlanta’s Star Community Bar was a powerhouse show rock with equal parts indie rock muscle and pop finesse,  with major support from openers Tigers and Monkeys, an indie NYC band led by former Atlanta by way of Nashville power rocker Shonali Bhowmik.  (KMD and Bhowmik were among the brains and beauty behind Ultrababyfat,  the center of Atlanta’s power pop universe in the mid-to-late 90’s, but that’s not important now. It probably is important but I’m just the photographer, so footnote it.)

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Tigers & Monkeys are touring behind their 3rd LP release “Saturday Destroyer.”   Check all their stuff at http://tigersandmonkeys.com/

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K. Michelle Dubois delivered an equally compelling and at times blistering set of new and older songs.  A crack band behind her, including guitarist D Dixon, who is  as good as it gets, maybe better.  The band is planning another show next spring to support the upcoming LP “Harness” which you can check out in streaming form here:  https://www.kmichelledubois.com/home
Follow John on Instagram @johnboydstonphoto

JD McPhearson / Eddie Angel’s Guitar Party: 12/9/18, Atlanta

Dates: December 9, 2018

Location: Terminal West, Atlanta GA

Live at Terminal West, Atlanta, Ga, December 9th, 2018

 

Text & Photos by John Boydston

 

JD McPhearson has been touring behind his new LP of all-holiday songs.  All-holiday record?  That’s a good idea?  Yes, if you are JD McPhearson and his crack band of Wrecking Crew A-list players.  So the songs are great, and the record an instant classic.  It’s called “Socks” and its out now on New West Records.   Rolling Stone says he’s blown up the concept of Christmas records  by doing “no jingle bells, no cover songs, and no schmaltz.”   Check out one of the new retro tunes here:

It was JD’s 2nd show in Atlanta in a year, both at the great Terminal West.  And the place was packed despite it being a cold, dreary, rainy, December Sunday night.   McPhearson is popular in these parts and his fans don’t just like him, they love him.   JD sings and plays guitar, his band is Raynier Jacob Jacildo, Jimmy Sutton, Jason Smay, and Doug Corcoran.
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Opening for JD was his Nashville buddy Eddie Angel’s Guitar Party.  You know Eddie as the one of the guitar slingers behind the masks with Los Straitjackets.  He did some of that band’s well-branded Christmas instrumental surf rock renditions of holiday classics, and LS standards like “Pacifica” and “Close to Champaign.”   He stepped up to sing even.  And yes, he can play the guitar like wringing a chicken’s neck.  #chickenpickin.   They were down a player who got stuck in a North Carolina snowstorm, so the 2nd Guitar Party guitarist – who graduates from high school this year – took over bass-playing duties and did a great job.   (Eddie must be trying to skew down the average age of the band, but good is good.)

 

Follow John on Instagram @johnboydstonphoto

 

Austin City Limits Music Festival 2018

Dates: October 11-14, 2018

Location: Zilker Park, Austin TX

This year’s event was at Zilker Park, as usual, over the course of two weekends. Our ace photog was on hand October 11-14.

PHOTOS BY SAIDE CLAIRE

Thursday, Oct. 11 – BMI’s Howdy Texas / Wrangler at Yeti Day Party

Mt. Joy

Nicole Atkins

 

Friday, October 12

Bishop Briggs

Ravyn Lenae

Reignwolf

David Byrne

Lily Allen

Father John Misty

Paul McCartney

Saturday, October 13

Charley Crockett

Wallows

Ikebe Shakedown

Curtis Harding

Brandi Carlile

Disturbed

Lil Wayne

Metallica

Sunday October 14

Thunderpussy

Ghost of Paul Revere

Bahamas

Janelle Monae

St. Vincent

 

 

 

KALAMASHOEGAZER FESTIVAL 11/10/18, Kalamazoo, MI

The eclectic, eccentric multi-band event was held, appropriately enough, at Bell’s Eccentric Café. Pictured above: Springhouse.

TEXT & PHOTOS BY TIM HINELY

I had never been to Kalamazoo before. Heck, I had never been to Michigan before but a one-day music festival with 8 bands seemed as good as any to make the flight and visit the Wolverine State (or whatever the heck it is). April and her small group of dedicated music fans (April Zimont is/was in the fab band Glowfriends and now the same folks have a new band called Tambourina which played on this very night) have been putting the festival on since 2006 and do a damn good job of running it. It ran like clockwork and everyone had a good time (no frowns) and at tix at $15 it was a steal (they could/should have charged twice that much).

My old friends Tears Run Rings were on the bill, as was Jack Rabid’s NYC band Springhouse (you know Jack from his long-running, legendary mag The Big Takeover) so yeah, I pretty much had to go.

The weather was cold and snowy, but Bell’s Eccentric Café was warm, cozy and inviting and seemed a popular place for both locals and folks like me coming in to see the festival. The bands played in a nice sized room that has touring bands as well (Anna Burch was playing the next night). There was also a bar in the back, food service (tasty grub!) and they even had a small balcony upstairs (where I caught part of the show from).

Up first was Milwaukee’s Brief Candles (above) who I’d heard some tunes before but not a lot and they were perfect openers, getting the crowd lubed up.  They’ve been around for a looong time and have a classic shoegaze sound (big hooks). Check out their Bandcamp page sometime.

Seashine took the stage next and they were a quartet from St. Louis (Demi, Paul, Seth and Kate) with a real positively dreamy sound that was real easy to like. I’m gonna look for some of their stuff (only some tunes on Soundcloud from what I’ve seen).

Kalamazoo’s own Tambourina was up next and kicked the tempo up a bit while vocalist April bounced all over the stage (not sure where she gets her energy from). I really enjoyed their soaring set that really had the crowd bouncing.

Though I’ve been a fan of Tears Run Rings for ages I had never seen them play live and they did not disappoint. Playing a few cuts off their new EP (Somewhere) as well as a healthy dose of tunes from their entire catalog. They really had the crowd swaying and hypnotized.

Sacramento’s Soft Science (Test Pattern Records) had a few equipment problems but once those got sorted out (Katie’s vocals were hard to hear at the beginning) that didn’t stop them from putting on a terrific set, mostly of cuts off their righteous, recently-released LP,  Maps. Well worth your time.

Chicago’s Airiel, a trio with a handful of records out on Shelflife (and a bevy of fx pedals) brought in a bit of a heavier sound and had the crowd eating out of their hand.

Springhouse came armed with some merch and a seriously good set. Now a quartet with the addition of Dave Burokas on 2nd guitar (Dave was the editor of old killer NJ zine Sporadic Droolings….fun fact: he gave DAGGER my first ever review!). We heard “Eskimo,” “Land Falls” and plenty more old faves and drummer  Jack Rabid has not lost a step on his drum kit).

Texas trio Ringo Deathstarr showed up a little later but the packed house were ready and they did not disappoint either.  I don’t believe they’ve released a record since 2015’s Pure Mood, but they dug deep into their grab bag of songs and killed it. Adding some fun and humor whilst chatting with the crowd and totally delivering until the wee hours.

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It all ended about 1:00 AM and I had an early flight so I had to say a few quick goodbyes and cut out but it was well worth it. Great bands, nice people, a well run mini-festival all around…not much more you could ask for, really.  I will be back one day. …thank you Kalamashoegazer, you know how to put on a festival!

BRONCHO – 11/2/18 Nashville & 12-8-18 Atlanta

Twice the rocking’ and twice the fun!

TEXT & PHOTOS BY JOHN BOYDSTON

The band Broncho is currently on tour promoting their latest LP “Bad Behavior” and I was lucky enough to catch two recent club shows with the band of artsy upstart rockers.

Nashville, TN
Basement East
November 2nd, 2018

Broncho’s music and stage show can be moody, dark, strangely upbeat, usually melodic, and always catchy.  For all the dark atmospheric stage lighting, they do bring the hooks, bounce, and beat.

Atlanta, Ga
Masquerade
December 8th, 2018

 

Broncho is front guy Ryan Lindsey, Nathan Price, Ben King, and Penny Pitchlynn on bass and who usually catches the best light, hence her prominence in these photos.  The band calls Norman, OK home and why not?  The new LP “Bad Behavior” is garnering great reviews, and said to be more pop than previous records, and that can’t hurt anything since the band’s signature mood, quirks, and scrappy rock are all still there.  I considered their 2015 release “Just Enough Hip to Be a Woman” to be on the pop-side so what do I know?  My favorite from that release ‘Class Historian’ is a modern classic.  Look up those videos, songs, as well as current and future tour dates here:  http://broncho.tv/

Check out more of John’s work on Instagram: @johnboydstonphoto

BOZ SCAGGS – Out of the Blues

January 01, 1970

Concord Records

https://concord.com/

The Upshot: It seems almost criminal that the record Boz Scaggs is most remembered for should act as the signpost for an entire career. In the years since ’76’s Silk Degrees, his best work ever is happening now.

BY ERIC THOM

I’m guessing Boz Scaggs could care less whether we like what he’s doing or not – and am betting he hasn’t cared for years. His connection to music is deeply personal. He sings for himself and it’s always been about the music. He’s never been a trend setter and I believe that the overblown commercial success of Silk Degrees – the album by which he’ll be forever measured – was likely as big a surprise to him as it was to his management. In typical Boz fashion, he never set out to align himself to the ‘disco’ of the times. Truth be told, the record has more to do with the blues and R&B shadings that this blue-eyed soul singer has always favored – which is why it holds up to this day, long after the dust of disco era has blown away. Long his own man, Scaggs has always seemed driven to do his best and to exceed his own standards first – a perfectionist from humble beginnings.

A lot is being made of the fact that Out Of The Blues is “Act III” of a trilogy of genre albums, as it is being billed. I doubt Boz’ fans care. All that really matters is that Out Of The Blues is his best release yet since Come On Home – and likely the best album you’ll hear this year. It’s entirely consistent with everything Boz he’s ever done since being birthed into the age of early rock ’n’ roll, R&B, blues and rock, growing up on radio in Oklahoma and Texas. He’s just – at 74 years of age and a 20+ record catalogue – a hell of a lot better at it now. He knows his strengths and it’s only natural he’d pay tribute to those originals which have meant something to him, adding something tangible to his personal evolution as acting Ambassador of Refined Tastes. Despite his unerring reverence for the likes of Jimmy McCracklin, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Jimmy Reed and even Neil Young, the songs chosen had to do more than simply be good. Each had to allow him to transform them into something all his own. Of special note are the four, obsidian-solid originals written by fellow San Franciscan musician and friend, Jack ‘Applejack’ Walroth, one a Scaggs co-write – seamlessly blending with the whole, despite the mixture of ‘new to old’.

Boz’ mastery over his technique and painstaking control over the material that he covers is only part of the recipe for success here. His choice of musicians is notable as each is adept at adding much more to each song than mere notes and rhythms. Out Of The Blues literally breathes with an intimacy and a larger-than-life groove throughout, thanks to the chemistry between Willie Weeks, Jim Keltner, Jim Cox, Ray Parker Jr., Doyle Bramhall II and Charlie Sexton. This vital crew lends an earthy, highly organic feel to a record expertly produced within an inch of its life, informed by an allegiance to the principles of just-enough but never-too-much.

Right out of the gate, the highly colorful “Rock and Stick” hits hard with its ringing guitar chords and Bramhall’s rich embellishments. Boz’s liquid, honeyed vocals – wrapped in the warmth of Weeks’ bass – join with songwriter Walroth, who injects a surprisingly beefy harp as Keltner adds his distinctive touch with every drum strike. A little B3 in the background and backup singers conjure a little bit of heaven as Boz notes, “You can shake, you can shim-sham-shimmy” – entirely committed to the era, despite this being a new composition. Cue the opening sax attack of Eric Crystal, Thomas Politzer and Doc Kupka which, when added to Jim Cox’s seductive B3 (and stately piano), sets the stage for Scaggs’ treatment of “I’ve Just Got To Forget You” – a powerful and personal tribute to a key idol, the late Bobby “Blue” Bland. Magic Sam’s cover of Jimmy McCracklin’s “I’ve Just Got To Know” was an unknown to Scaggs until introduced to it by David Hidalgo. Here, aided by Cox’s St. Louis-styled piano, a bewitching horn section and Charlie Sexton’s tasteful lead guitar break, Scaggs’ silken vocals make it his own. On “Radiator 110”, Walroth’s standout harp (with its slight Lee Oskar shading) combines with a tougher guitar mix (Scaggs and Steve Freund) and Ricky Fataar’s fat drum sound, propelling Walroth’s ‘lover as hot car’ analogy towards becoming an ultimate driving song. Here, Scaggs’ convincing vocal gently simmers over sparring guitars as Cox’s B3 keeps the RPMs just out of the red. Walroth and Scaggs’ own “Little Miss Night and Day” is a swinging Texas shuffle injecting a severe shot of rock ’n’ roll to the hip as Bramhall and Sexton blaze against Cox’s pounding 88s, together with a hint of Walroth’s harp. Considering the choice of covers, who would guess that Neil Young’s semi-obscure “On The Beach” would be included? Yet, in Scaggs’ hands, it’s the most memorable track here – squeezing the blues out of the starkly ragged original, transforming it into something achingly beautiful. It makes the most of its slowed-down self as each fat slap of Keltner‘s tom-tom hits hard like a punch to the stomach while strains of B3 and lightly dueling guitars breathe much life into the original treatment.

Of course, nobody can squeeze more from sadness than the velvety strains of Boz Scaggs and here, he’s at his best. Walroth’s harp takes a sharp country turn on Jimmy Reed’s “Down In Virginia” which, for Scaggs, is an artist almost too easy to cover, lending him an element of elegance not normally associated with his style. “Those Lies” – another Walroth work – grabs you instantly by the throat with its slick, uptown attack. Driven by Sexton’s aggressive, processed guitar sound, Keltner’s skin-tight drumming and a brawny barrage of sax, extra animation from the baritone helps push this over the top. Cox adds B3 as if each player is following a different path – Scaggs’ vocal gluing it all together as one. “The Feeling Is Gone” is another of Bobby “Blue” Bland’s iconic songs that goes downtown with a decidedly jazzy feel as Scaggs plays straight homage to one of his more sophisticated heroes. While the horn section and piano add scorch to Scaggs’ liquid vocal, this classic breakup song serves as a lamented end to this lush outing.

This is a re-energized Scaggs, paying the love for his R&B roots well forward, seemingly delighted with the process. Out of the Blue offers more blues and R&B than you might have expected. But chances are good you’ll leave wanting more.

 

 

SOUL ASYLUM – Say What You Will…Everything Can Happen / Made to Be Broken

January 01, 1970

Omnivore (July 20, 2018)

http://www.omnivorerecordings.com

BY MICHAEL TOLAND

Of the eighties Big 3 of Minneapolis college rock, Soul Asylum was considered the junior partner (after Hüsker Dü and the Replacements). So it’s ironic that the scrappy young quartet became far and away the most successful. Of course, that may have simply been by virtue of sticking around – by the time Nirvana ushered in the alt.rock wave, the ‘Mats and the Dü had split and Dave Pirner’s crew was on Columbia and boasted an honest-to-top 40 hit single in the folk rocking “Runaway Train.” In a way, though, it’s not so surprising – Soul Asylum always seemed to have the most commercial instincts, if for no other reason than they had the biggest penchant for the classic rock punk hadn’t yet muscled aside. Plus they could become a (highly irreverent) top 40 cover band at the drop of a hat, so they understood what it took to gain the attention of listeners outside of the college rock circuit.

Listening to the new reissue of Say What You Will…Everything Can Happen (produced, as would be its successor, by Dü’s Bob Mould), that commercial clout is hard to hear. Not because Soul Asylum, though young and unseasoned, was a bad band. Far from it, in fact – the explosive recordings on this 1984 album show off a fledgling group already displaying signs of greatness. Like a lot of emerging rockers in the eighties, Pirner, guitarist Dan Murphy, bassist Karl Mueller and drummer Pat Torpey (replaced after these sessions by Grant Young) came out of the hardcore scene, and it shows in the band’s blazing attack and Pirner’s unhinged snarl. “Long Day,” “Happy” and “Voodoo Doll” rush to the finish line, nearly barrelling over the nascent melodies and postpunk dynamics hidden under the roar. But the band’s desire to be their own thing becomes quickly apparent. Though in rough form, “Walking” introduces the warped C&W into which Soul Asylum occasionally dipped its toes, while “Black and Blue” blends country, hardcore and postpunk into a unique blast that must have been a bitch to play. “Religiavision” pits an ambitious and wideranging set of lyrics against a knotty hard rock anthem, while “Stranger” forms the first glimpse of Pirner’s distinctive blend of sensitivity and swagger. Though possibly the purest hardcore move musically, “Sick of That Song” is the clearest signal that the band won’t be satisfied with clichés, as Pirner rages against the typical subject matter of both classic rock and punk at the time. Though hardly a classic in the Soul Asylum catalog, Say What You Will is a coarse but compelling guide to what the band would later become.

Omnivore’s edition offers up a slew of bonus tracks. The five outtakes from the album sessions (eventually released on the 1988 CD version) include the rampaging but catchy “Do You Know” and “Spacehead,” the almost self-consciously varied “Masquerade” and the furiously rocking “Broken Glass,” Murphy’s first significant contribution to the band’s repertoire. The other nine tracks constitute the group’s first demo, back when it was still known as Loud Fast Rules, and a pair of recordings, including a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising,” under the name Proud Class Fools. Though crude, these tracks also show off the combo’s range, alternating between punk rocking crunches like “Job For Me” and “Your Clock” with brittle oddities like “Out of Style” and a rougher version of “Black and Blue.” Though there aren’t any track-by-track notes, writer Robert Vodicka’s essay sheds light on Soul Asylum’s early work.

By the time Soul Asylum released its second LP Made to Be Broken, it barely sounded like the same band. The punk fury had been replaced by old-fashioned rock & roll energy, and Pirner had developed into a dynamic, thoughtful songwriter that valued melody as much as punch. In an opening one-two-three attack,“Tied to the Tracks,” “Ship of Fools” and “Can’t Go Back” (penned by Murphy, proving himself his bandleader’s equal in the craft department, though not in prolificacy) set a standard for SA rockers thereafter: tuneful, tough, smarter than revealed on one spin, with twists in the arrangements that follow the song’s internal logic. The band continues its experiments with country music on the wistful “Never Really Been” and the crackling title track, as well as beginning a new tradition of warping heavy rock to its own purposes with “Growing Pain” and “Don’t It (Make Your Troubles Seem Small).” The group hasn’t forgotten its punk rock roots, however – cf. the breathless rush of “New Feelings” and the frenzied explosion of “Whoa!” Due to its carefully curated eclecticism and strong songwriting and arrangement skills, it’s no exaggeration to say that Made to Be Broken is the birth of Soul Asylum as we know it.

As with Say What You Will, a passel of album outtakes fill out the disk, from the fierce “Long Way Home,” “Friends” and “Hey Bird” to the goofy “Freeway” and “The Snake.” Also included are seven unsourced recordings with demo quality production and not-quite-there arrangements and performances. “Swingin’” and “Song of the Terrorist” may be useful more for fan service than potential playlist rotation, perhaps, but they’re no less oddly charming for that.

Soul Asylum would go on to make records with more acclaim and success, but its first two lay out the qualities that would get them there, making them as essential as anything in the band’s catalog.

JACK DRAG – 2018

January 01, 1970

Burger Records (Sept. 14, 2018)

http://burgerrecords.com

BY MICHAEL TOLAND

At this point in his career, singer/songwriter/composer John Dragonetti is best known for his work with (now ex-wife) Blake Hazard in the Submarines and for film and TV scores (All About Nina, FX’s Married, We Are Legion, The Secret Life of Muslims). Before all that, however, the Bostonian led the underrated indie rock band Jack Drag.

Dormant since 2002, the moniker is back for 2018, a state of the union address from the low-key musical polyglot. Looking back at past relationships (and not just marriages) and forward to the present, Dragonetti soaks his tunes in bittersweetness. The synths ‘n’ percussion arrangement of “Bloody Noses” gives lightness to its emotional confusion, while the catchy hooks of “I Am Not Willing” bely its disillusioned theme. “Marigolds” pulls light out of the darkness through a subtly anthemic pop arrangement, while “Strangers” dips into sixties pop for its tunefulness and nineties angst for its heart. “Hope Revisited” goes unabashedly for its title concept, with brash hooks and unambiguous lyrics, though it almost feels like the forced giddiness of the damned.

With his now-signature blend of twinkly new wave and melancholic power pop, Dragonetti knocks out one sweetly melodic gem after another here, putting adult uncertainty and confusion to a catchy soundtrack.

BROKEN ARROWS – Streetflowers

January 01, 1970

Intelligent Design Records

https://brokenarrows1.bandcamp.com/album/streetflowers

BY DANNY R. PHILLIPS

Music, of late, makes me sad.  Turning on the radio is a game of Russian roulette with five chambers out of six holding a bullet.  Pseudo-soul, re-hashed 1980s synth garbage, ham-fisted knuckle dragger butt rock and over produced rap tracks about shaking ass and making money pass for music.  Yes, I sound like an old man but the years I’ve spent sifting through the mountain of crap to uncover gems has left me somewhat jaded and cold.  Where many bands are content releasing tracks with endless over-dubs of inane lyrics and unimaginative licks of scant guitar tracks, Kansas City’s own Broken Arrows, a group of seasoned players, unloading their musical knowledge of all things power pop and classic garage, go deeper, farther into the past, using the great wave of garage rock of the ‘60s and ‘70s as touchstones and thank god they do.

Streetflowers, the latest from Broken Arrows, is an album packed with the minimalist approach of bands like The Sonics and The Trashmen crossed up with the psychedelic jump of the great Roky Erickson and the 13 Floor Elevators, intermingled with bands like Teenage Fanclub, Big Star (a strong influence throughout) and the power pop goodness of Matthew Sweet, alongside lesser known acts like The Exploding Hearts, The Electric Prunes, the always great Seeds and The Castaways.

While most acts seem content churning out half-baked thoughts and thrown together, unimaginative, inane workings that pass for singles, Broken Arrows approach Streetflowers as a whole, to be listened to as a completed work, to be listened to in its entirety, its song sequencing calling to be heard in order, the type of album that screams at the listeners to put on headphones, light a joint and soak it all in.

Within the opening chords of “Not Coming Back”, Broken Arrows show that they aren’t perfect and aren’t trying to be; an act somewhat unwilling to be polished by studio magicians (no Pro-Tools here.  Again, thank the God of your choice for that), standing up for how they want their music cast into the world.;

Broken Arrows, above all else are a band of friends, like minded individuals on the same musical page, the same frequency.  This is shown above else by the tracks “Behind the Eight Ball” and the heavy Big Star or Paul Westerberg influences weaving in and out of Streetflowers, directing an album of songwriting that is both complex while speaking to the simplicity and fragility of life.

John Chevalier, Barry Lee, Mike Penner, Bill Ryan and Dave Storms should be proud of what they’ve created with Streetflowers; an album not of songs but a whole thought.  It has a rough beauty, a drive, a joy that is oftentimes  missing in music today.  Broken Arrows are not overly polished musicians; passion and drive replace technical prowess, “perfection” and virtuoso coldness; each song has a place, building to the next.  Is it perfect? No… is that ok? Absolutely.  Broken Arrows’ Streetflowers, at its heart, is a garage rock record standing tall in a time of Disco.

 

 

FOO FIGHTERS 10/12/18, Kansas City

Live at the aptly named Sprint Center—because the band not only sprints nonstop, it gallops! (Photo credit: Brantley Gutierrez.)

By Danny R. Phillips

I saw it with my own two eyes this past Friday night in Kansas City; the transformation is now complete. Sprawling stadium hero guitar solos, a drum riser that raised twenty feet in the air for a drum solo from the superb Taylor Hawkins, Dave working the crowd like a rock god carnival barker on speed.  It’s true, it has come to fruition: Foo Fighters are my generation’s Led Zeppelin.  The band’s bombast and control of the stage rivals any of the giants of the 1970’s, kicking you in the face one minute, soothing you with a ballad the next.

Over the past 25 years, I have seen The Fighters of Foo go from a band born of grief at the loss of Dave Grohl’s band mate and friend Kurt Cobain, creating from the maelstrom a self-recorded album meant to be for only his friends, a record where Grohl played all the instruments (except for The Afghan Whigs Greg Dulli’s appearance with his guitar on the track “X-Static”), I’ve stayed with the band through good records and not so great ones, I’ve seen them go from 1,500 seat rooms to the 18,000 strong packed into The Sprint Center like so many sardines.  I’ve seen guitarists come, go and in the case of former Germs great Pat Smear, come back again, I’ve sat through hiatuses, rumors of break ups and numerous Grohl side projects as I waited patiently for more Foo Fighters.

I have witnessed the trading in of original drummer William Goldsmith for the nearly bionic Taylor Hawkins and the retirement of Smear for Franz Stahl, former member with Grohl in Scream. Through it all, I’ve stayed diligent in my resolve when it comes to Grohl and Company; every time I get the chance to see the spectacle of Foo, I’ve never left disappointed.  This night in October would be no different, in fact it would be one of the best performances (and longest, clocking in at just over 3 hours) I’ve had the pleasure to see.

Stacked at the start with three new tracks from the 2017 record Concrete and Gold “Sky is a Neighborhood,” “Run,” and “La Dee Da,” the Foos then tore through a career spanning set that included “Walk,” from Wasting Light “This is a Call,” “Monkeywrench,” “The Pretender,” “Learn to Fly,” Van Halen’s “Jump” to the tune of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” The Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop” with Smear showing his punk rock guitar chops and Taylor Hawkins trading places with Dave behind the drums to provide startlingly well done Freddie Mercury lead vocals on the Queen classic “Under Pressure” with Dave returning to the drum throne where he will always be king, a treat even if it for just one song and jamming Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” with a seven year old kid on lead guitar, after which Dave gave the kid his guitar.  Each one of their albums were represented in the 25-song set, giving new and old fans alike a taste of what they wanted, sending everyone home happy.  Closing the show with a stirring rendition of “Everlong” from The Colour and the Shape.

Underneath all the trappings of the stadium rock show (the solos, illuminating the darkness of the Sprint Center with cell phones, the stories between songs, the banter), Foo Fighters are still a band that comes to rock, Dave’s nearly 50 year old voice screaming like a kid, never phoning it in, always giving the fans what they want, making sure to cover all the moments that give the concertgoer something to remember.  The shows are never boring, the audience never slighted.  This night, like many nights over the past two decades, gave me things I’ll remember and talk about for years to come.

Dave Grohl proved to me once again that he is the showman for a generation.  Standing tall above the rest, never running out of gas and always leaving you wanting more.  Two questions swim around my mind as I write this: will I ever realize my dream of interviewing Dave and when in the fuck will they play “Wattershed” live again? There’s always next time…