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.
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.
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.