January 16, 2008
Better Than: The ‘70s all over again.
Timing. It really is all about timing. Oh, not yours, and not theirs, (not this night, anyway), but mine. I mean, in order to leave the Gables, hit the Beach, pick-up a pal in Hollywood, and make it way out west to the BankAtlantic just in time to hear Jimmy Eat World perform their heavy indie hit “Big Casino,” a cat’s gotta have timing. Or luck. And I’d say last night for the Jimmy Foo show at BankAtlantic Center, I was blessed with loads of both.
First I gotta apologize to Against Me!, who got lopped off my schedule not because of anything unsoundly (their gritty-stomp “Thrash Unreal” still sounds great on my Sirius), but because I have neither the patience nor the tolerance to hang in one place through three bands. Sorry fellas, I’m not sixteen anymore.
So nothing against Against Me! and some small ado for Arizona’s Jimmy Eat World. You know the band, and if you had either a radio or a television back in ’01, you know the strut that is “The Middle.” A crunch of an anthem, with one of those all hail heartbreak choruses emocore’s known for, it remains Jimmy’s biggest track to date. From the roar of the kids in the pit, it also remains the band’s most popular. The song stands the test of time and the loud of live, though these days I prefer the soar of “Casino,” which puts the Tempe-based foursome into a whole new sky.
But of course it was the Foo Fighters that I and the rest of the rafter-packed house had come to see and hear, and it was Foo who got the most resounding roar, and who gave off the biggest bang.
Appearing out of the smoke ala some ‘70s era rock god, Grohl was a study in arena cliché – fist raised, hair to the shoulders, and axe welded to his crotch. Then came that patented smile of his, and the whole crowd got hip to the fact that this was one rock god who would never take himself as a deity.
No matter how screed-worthy the collection of four-on-the-four hymns: from a scream-soaked opener that I was too daft to pinpoint came the rat-a-tat of “The Pretender,” (a dynamite driving song), the uplift of “Times Like These,” the rouse of “Learn to Fly,” the chop-shop crop of “DOA,” and the all of “This is a Call,” each just a little louder and sweatier than the last. And each accompanied by a chorus of faithful who didn’t need hymnals to sing along with their boy.
And though Foo Fighters is indeed a band, which last night varied between seven, five and the core four, live it’s really more like The Dave Show. For it is Grohl who takes center stage, and Grohl who flies back and forth between wings, and Grohl who sprints down the venue-length catwalk evoking equal parts Jesus and Rick Derringer.
And it was Grohl who strapped on a Thunderbird and hit the catwalk for some ripping riff-trading between the still-staged Pat Smear, and it was Grohl who then adjourned to allow Taylor Hawkins a drum solo. Now, I’m all for classic rock in all its trappings, but I don’t need to hear a traps-man bang his drum by himself – slowly or otherwise.
In fact, I won’t. Which means I left the show before Dave and Co played "All My Life," "My Hero," "Monkey Wrench," “Best of You,” and “Everlong,” which, from Dave’s between song promise (“we got a lotta shit to play tonight!”) I’m sure they performed. Still, for the first time in my life I got to witness the antics of one of rock’s finest fronting his own – and that, my friends, is timing.
Personal Bias: Smirk-faced arena keen always gets me giddy.
Random Detail: Grohl has to be the most melodic screamer ever on stage.
By the Way: Foo’s latest, Echoes, Silence, Patience, Grace, is the 2008 Grammy nominee for Album of the Year and Best Rock Album, and the single "The Pretender" has been nominated for Record of the Year, Best Rock Song, and Best Hard Rock Performance. Now let’s hope they hold the ceremony.
-- John Hood