Foo Fighters At Tennent’s Vital Review (Hot Press)

19 10 2012

Here’s a reprint of my review of Foo Fighters’ headline slot at this year’s Tennent’s Vital that ran in Hot Press a few issues ago.


Tennent’s Vital, Boucher Playing Fields, Belfast

Ever since it was first announced that Dave Grohl and his band of genuinely merry men would be playing Belfast for the first time as part of the Tennent’s Vital festival, there has been more than a smidge of excitement emanating from the black t-shirt-clad rock community north and south of the border. Normally an event associated with indie, pop and hip hop acts, tonight’s bill sees those who love their bands turning the amps up to 11 get their turn and after being suitably warmed up by the likes of Trucker Diablo, the Minutes, the Cribs and the Black Keys, Hot Press heads towards the pit to watch the Foo Fighters pop the city’s cherry up close and personal.


Making their way onstage bright and early at 8.30pm, the boys tear straight into ‘White Limo’ followed immediately by ‘All My Life’ prompting thousands of people to push their way to the front and even provoking the odd lost soul to whip out their air guitar (bless). As introductions go, it’s a hell of a way to start the set and from there Grohl’s rock juggernaut fires on all cylinders, taking the fans on a trip down memory lane and visiting all seven records along the way.


“Has anyone seen us before? We used to suck,” offers the frontman in an attempt to apologise for his band’s way overdue visit and while it doesn’t exactly make up for the fact that they never bothered their holes coming to Belfast over the last two decades, the crowd certainly appreciates the sentiment. This evening every rock cliché is served up to festival goers on a plate and the 30 000 plus in audience lap up every morsel. We get mass singalongs, an airing of a few bars of the over-played Stiff Little Fingers cut ‘Alternative Ulster’ (*cringe*), a huge, fuck-off cat-walk for Dave to walk up and down on and even a backstage camera just in case the crowd haven’t seen enough of the hairy ones.


There are numerous highlights over the next two plus hours. ‘Hey, Johnny Park!’ is a particular treat thanks to its old school melodic metallic riff and the almost proggy sounds of ‘Rope’ works really well live and ‘Learn To Fly’ and ‘Monkey Wrench’ has the desired effect on the fair weather fans too.


By the time we get to the encore, which initially features the frontman playing ‘Wheels’ solo, we start to think about just how far the band have come over the last 17 or so years. What began as a side project (that saw Grohl regularly brick it onstage due to nerves during those first few gigs) has grown into a bona fide rock monster and he’s now a fairly consummate frontman to boot. In fact he even good-naturedly berates a fan for fiddling around on her mobile phone before playing ‘Breakout’ and delights in wishing tour manager Josh happy birthday onstage and the whole gig has felt extremely assured all night.


Signing off with ‘Everlong,’ the band state that it won’t take them as long to return to Belfast and while we don’t believe a word of it it’s clear that the crowd will always cherish their first time with the Foo Fighters.




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