Tag Archives: Philadelphia

Foo Fighters Rock Philadelphia

11 Nov

On the eve of what is being dubbed Nigel Tufnel Day (11.11.11), the Foo Fighters appropriately took things way past 11 when they played the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia last night.

From the moment the opening guitar riff of “Bridges Burning” cut through the packed Wells Fargo Center, it was on. They ripped though a blistering set of hit after hit after hit after…hit, highlighting the fact that Dave Grohl is a monster frontman.

At first, it seemed like the Dave and Taylor (Hawkins) show. The pair is defining Bromance…and I like it. Hawkins even sang lead on two songs – “Cold Day in the Sun” from In Your Honor and a cover of Pink Floyd’s “In the Flesh.”

The rest of  the band – Nate Mendel, Pat Smear, Chris Shiflett and keyboardist Rami Jaffee – looked a little tired and road weary until Grohl intro’d the band and everyone seemed to come alive, gracious that so many people came out to see them on a school night. And then Grohl ran out to another tiny stage toward the back of the house.  Shiflett stood on the main stage, and the two had a little dueling guitars battle, which provided a bit of levity and a chance for Shiflett to show off the mad skills that got him the title of lead guitarist for the Foo Fighters.

After the show, WMMR’s Pierre Robert reported that the Foo’s Philly audience was the largest audience on the tour, and I believe it. In fact, I’m surprised I can hear at all today. The Foos played eight songs off the new album, Wasting Light and closed the first set with the anthemic “All My Life.”

Then Grohl appeared in extreme close-up, bathed in a greenish, night vision camera-y light, projected on screens peppered throughout the stage. He put a hand to one ear and the crowd exploded. He held up one finger, and the crowd cheered. Shiflett appeared on camera and held up two fingers, and the crowd really cheered. Teasing the audience, Grohl shook his head no. The crowd booed until he held up two fingers and then three. This continued with Smear and Hawkins joining in until the hand count got up to six more songs.

“The whole show you thought you had the shitty seats,” Grohl told those sitting in the back and in the nosebleeds beyond, “Well not anymore.” He performed three of the five encore songs solo, acoustic and on the elevated stage toward the back of the floor. Everyone – and I mean everyone – was on their feet. Grohl even played a taste of “Blackbird” by his beloved Beatles but cheekily made mention of his lack of classical training and said that you should never play songs from a band that’s better than your band, “That’s why you only play one verse.”

Once back on the main stage to finish out “Times Like These” plugged in and with the rest of the band, they were then joined by Bob Mould of Husker Du fame for “Dear Rosemary” which he also appears on on the album, as well as a seemingly impromptu cover of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ “Breakdown.” The Foos closed the show, of course, with “Everlong,” one of the best songs ever, in my opinion, and the audience appeared to agree – bouncing, singing, clapping and dancing, totally uncaring that they’d already been on their feet doing much of the same for the last three hours.

Taylor Hawkins introduced Grohl as one of the best musicians of our generation, and he wasn’t the first person I heard say that last night – or in general lately. That’s a moniker I don’t think should be tossed around lightly, and after delivering a set of such magnitude, in which Grohl ran around, totally engaged the audience, shredded on the guitar and sang his balls off, I have to agree. The Foo Fighters are well aware that they’re where they are and doing what they love because of their fans. Dave Grohl and Co. paid their Philadelphia fans last night in full.

A complete setlist can be found here.

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Warpaint Rocks the TLA

4 Apr

Licking my wounds after not getting to do an interview with Warpaint, the all-fem quartet hailing from Los Angeles, California, I latched onto one reviewer’s labeling them as “hype-darlings.” It’s not hard to see why. Their original drummer was actress Shannyn Sossaman, which put them into the search engine lexicon from the onset. Their first EP, Exquisite Corpse, was released under John Frusciante’s label. He and lead singer, Emily Kokal, dated. Then, filling in on drums after Sossaman left was Josh Klinghoffer, who was also of Red Hot Chili Peppers fame (it’s been recently reported that Frusciante has formally quit the Chili Peppers…again, and Klinghoffer is his permanent replacement), and dating bassist (and Sossaman’s sis) Jenny Lee Lindberg at the time.

Get all that?

With all this name dropping and musical incest going on, it’s easy to see how Warpaint has caught media attention without releasing very much. However, saying Warpaint are hype-darlings would imply that the hype isn’t true. And that just isn’t true. Warpaint live up to the attention that’s been paid to them.

They rolled through Philadelphia this past Friday night, playing at the TLA, and the hipster crowd was out in force. Not surprising, since the ladies hail from Silverlake, California, a hipster mecca near Los Angeles. The wave of plaid and skinny jeans extended almost stage to door, which was a little surprising since Philadelphia can be so finicky when it comes to making bands feel welcome in our fair, fickle city. 

Although they’ve been put in the “psychedelic rock” classification, they cover a lot of ground on the sound spectrum. They can be ethereal and haunting, poetic and raw, but still sound playful and impish at the same time. Seeing them live, though, has proven that they can also be pretty badass rockers. Lindberg’s driving baseline coupled with Stella Mozgawa’s drumming gives them an edge not totally realized on their albums.  

And new drummer, Mozgawa seems to be the missing piece of the puzzle. After years of stops and starts and mismatched drummers, Lindberg, Kokal and guitarist, Theresa Wayman found what they were looking for in Mozgawa. There’s a cohesiveness now and a feeling that they can move forward as a united front, as if to say for the first time since they formed as an all girl band in 2004, “Here we are – this is Warpaint.”

During “Beetles,” and standing on opposite sides of the stage, Kokal and Wayman seemed a polarizing force, volleying vocal parts across the stage, an obvious bond likely the product of a friendship forged when they were kids. For an encore, “Elephants” was ridiculous. Wayman’s guitar hook at the beginning instantly had everyone on their feet.

I go back and forth about even uttering this next statement aloud, so to speak, but I’m gonna go do it – they sound like a female Radiohead. When my friend agreed, I felt a little less crazy at my somewhat bold comparison. Listening to Exquisite Corpse or The Fool, I don’t think the correlation is as easy to detect, but listening to them live really snaps it into place.

There were two opening bands, one memorable in its imitation, the other memorable for their talent. Family Band was first, and if I closed my eyes, I thought I was listening to Mazzy Star, and when I opened them, I thought I was looking at Sinead O’Connor. PVT came next and were the better of the two, by far. They were right on point with the resurgence of 80s music creeping across the airwaves.  They were a musically frenetic mash-up of The Cure meets Flock of Seagulls meets Joy Division. Yea, I went there, too.

I was already a fan prior to the TLA show, but Warpaint totally exceeded my expectations by exponential proportions Friday night, and if you haven’t given them a listen, I really recommend that you do. I’d heard an interview with Wayman once in which she said, “We want to be big in our intention and just to have it be earnest and always getting better, and always pushing ourselves to do better, to play better, to write better than the ones that came before…” Well, their live show proves that the girls of Warpaint are more than capable of topping themselves.

R.I.P Spectrum

5 Nov

The time has really actually finally come. As reported here on 94.1 WYSP’s website, the Spectrum will be surrounded by protective fencing come Monday, November 8, and it will really actually finally be no more. The notion that the Spectrum would be destroyed was something I kept as exactly that: a notion. Every time I would hear any mention of it, I would allow it to float into my mind and float right back out again.

Pierre Robert of 93.3 WMMR commented on his radio show earlier this week that Americans are so quick to destroy old landmarks, and I could not agree more. When memories are attached to something physical and it’s destroyed, it puts a mortality rate on the memories themselves, as if they might disappear, too. The Spectrum was the place where I got to watch David Lee Roth prance about in a neon green jumpsuit, and he was almost two decades outside the Eighties when that happened. Whatever will I do without a memory like that? Snarkiness aside, it is a shame to see the Spectrum go.

There is a glimmer of hope, though. For the low price of $25, you can take a part of this landmark home with you. Tomorrow, Saturday, November 6, the Spectrum will open its doors and people will be allowed to take home anything they can carry – chairs, computer equipment, you name it. If only the Rocky statue was still there.

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