Foo Fighters

Downtown Stage, Las Vegas NV, October 26

Foo FightersDowntown Stage, Las Vegas NV, October 26
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Have we reached peak Grohl? With a new album, TV show and an appearance on 60 Minutes, the Foo Fighters leader seems everywhere at the moment. Even when radio isn't playing his music, the sound Foo Fighters forged almost 20 years ago continues to dominate modern rock radio. Yet as easy as it is to be cynical about the group's ubiquity, it's equally as easy to forget what a force the band — and the charismatic Grohl — are live.

Hitting the stage like a force of nature, the band quickly launched into "One By One," the first of many, many hits in their catalogue, most of which made an appearance in their two-hour set. Backed by current Foos Taylor Hawkins, Pat Smear, Nate Mendel, Chris Shiflett and keyboardist Rami Jaffee, Grohl howled away while knocking out songs like "Times Like These," "My Hero" and new track "Something from Nothing," the only track from the group's new album they played.

Grohl's enthusiasm is palpable and infectious, which makes it easy to forgive rock clichés, like when he says the band are going "to play until they make us stop." Yet he and the band refuse to just play a song straight through, instead inserting a breakdown to jam and build from into every track. Used sparingly, it's a great way to build excitement; overuse it — as the Foos always do — and you risk trying an audience's patience. Far more rewarding were their spontaneous covers: the Stones' "Miss You," Queen and David Bowie's "Under Pressure" and Tom Petty's "Breakdown."

The band reached back to their first album for "This is a Call" and "I'll Stick Around," with Grohl commenting that they don't play those songs very often these days. If he learned some careful editing, maybe there would be more time in the set for more of these gems.
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