Dave Grohl looks like any guy from next door: a garage mechanic maybe, with beard, plain T-shirt and old jeans, out for a Saturday beer with the boys.
For all his everyday dress-down looks, he won the 2011 “Godlike Genius” award by U.K. magazine New Musical Express. The 42-year-old has played in more than 30 acts, including Scream and Them Crooked Vultures. He has also just given the first live previews, in London, of the new CD by his group Foo Fighters, out next month. “Wasting Light” is produced by Butch Vig and features bassist Krist Novoselic, who performed with Grohl in Seattle grunge trio Nirvana.
Grohl will deliver his sing-along hits with jovial punk intensity at the world’s biggest arenas this summer. The new song “Rope” grooves like AC/DC covered by Black Sabbath. “These Days” punches at stadium weight, the tight verses and raw choruses echoing Nirvana.
Foo Fighters might be disparaged as a meat and potatoes outfit. The London shows demonstrated how good a rock ‘n’ roll Sunday lunch can be. The three guitarists made an enormous noise, with Grohl in a singing, song-writing and guitar-playing role. Taylor Hawkins provided drumming that was meatier than half a cow, and he took lead vocals on “Cold Day in the Sun”
“Do you want me to tell stupid jokes,” Grohl asked, “or play loud rock music all night?” There was a roar of approval. A louder answer came with “Times Like These,” “The Pretender,” “Best Of You” and “Everlong,” songs meshing punk and radio-friendly melody. A cover of the Who’s “Young Man Blues” was blistering.
Cee Lo’s Shirt
Also at the NME Awards show at Wembley Arena, Los Angeles punk duo No Age made an angry, inchoate racket. Band of Horses plodded amiably through its harmonious rock. Soul man Cee Lo Green did his best to fit the rock-centric bill by wearing a Ramones shirt. His backing band of ladies squeezed their rather more svelte figures into black cat suits.
Green mixed his hit “Forget You” with the Clash’s “Rock the Casbah.” His efforts were raucously applauded, boding well for forthcoming shows played on his own terms. He tours Europe this month, joined by Rhianna this summer in the U.S.
Information: http://www.foofighters.com. The single “Rope” is available for download today.
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(Robert Heller is a music critic for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)