Foo 'til you're red in the face
Foo 'til you're red in the face
Chad Sengstock/OC Weekly

Over the Weekend: Foo Fighters at Fingerprints on Record Store Day, April 16

The Show: Have you ever seen a guy make the sign of the cross with his face? If you haven't, then you haven't seen the Foo Fighters play live, which is a shame. Front man Dave Grohl did the head-banging maneuver with teeth clenched several times at Saturday's show at Long Beach record store Fingerprints. (Check out our Foo Fighters slideshow here.)

Of course, had you purchased an advance copy of the Foo Fighters' latest LP,

Wasting Light,

through Fingerprints, you might have been among the lucky few granted passage into the hallowed vinyl retailer to bear witness to Grohl and company tearing through a live set featuring the new release in its entirety, in order.

The show began unassumingly enough, with Grohl asking the crowd what better way to celebrate Record Store Day than to play one. The band then launched into the opening lick of "Bridge Burning," a rapidly smoldering intro composed solely of simple drop-D tuned guitar behind which suddenly erupt furious drum rolls and Grohl's trademark shriek uttering the phrase "These are my last words."

Turns out the sound quality inside Fingerprints is incredibly good, allowing for a perfectly balanced mix that afforded everyone the chance to shine despite the overwhelming distortion, screaming and thunderous percussion. On songs such as "Rope" (currently in heavy rotation on local radio stations), the harmonies voiced by drummer Taylor Hawkins and Grohl were pitch-perfect and far from lost. This song also featured some outstanding drum-and-axe interplay between Grohl and Hawkins. All the while, bassist Nate Mendel's body lurched and unfurled like a car-lot blow-up doll. 

We're in a record store!
We're in a record store!
Chad Sengstock/OC Weekly

As the Foo Fighters blazed from one song to the next, there were few moments when Grohl let up on his voice box. It's a marvel he hasn't shredded his voice in the past decade.  There were points during the set, however, when he toned things down such as on the anti-ballad "Should Have Known," which saw Grohl using a more pensive tone and relying on his diaphragm. If I didn't know any better, I would have thought the song was an open letter to the spirit of Kurt Cobain, thanks to lyrics such as "I should have known it would have ended like this" and "I can't forgive you yet." For this tune, guitarist Pat Smear donned a double-necked guitar/bass. During the song's crescendo, he switched from six strings to four, adding an intense resonance that coincided with Mendel's bass. 

The band finished the set by returning to the stage for a brief encore to play the song "All My Life" off 2002's One by One

Kudos to event organizer, Fingerprints owner Rand Foster. This event could have been extremely chaotic, but proceeded in an orderly fashion under the watchful eye of Long Beach paramedics. The place was packed, but not to the gills. Fans crowded the stage, but everyone was respectful--pushing and shoving was totally absent.

The Crowd: Standard-issue alterna-rock crowd. Despite the freshness of the material, fans at the front of the stage were seen mouthing along to every word with eyelids closed and eyebrows tilted in expressions of passion. One young girl sitting on the second level with VIPs was seen wearing a Nirvana shirt.

Overheard: "Where are my fucking picks?" Grohl jokingly demanded after returning to the stage for the encore. "I'm still on the clock. Fucking gypsies!"

Random Notebook Dump: When the band left the stage before the encore, one fan--a raspy-voiced young woman named Dani--lifted her shirt to show Grohl a tattoo emblazoned on her lower right torso. It featured the written verse of "All My Life" and a tattoo signature from an autograph Grohl gave her at a previous show. He looked at it in amazement and declared, "Whoa. That's rad!"


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