Foo Fighters’ show Saturday night at Voodoo raised some questions. How did Dave Grohl go from hardcore punk and Nirvana to side three of The Song Remains the Same? How did someone who’s musical upbringing moved from such economical, intense music to songs that stretched out into slack blues jams?
Last year, the Voodoo Music and Arts Experience changed its narrative for the better. The Halloween weekend festival swapped its second main stage for Le Plur in 2010, and the changes it endured in the following years appeared to tell the story of a festival in decline. Some indicators were misleading and some weren’t Voodoo’s fault.
Last week, Foo Fighters made news when out of the blue they released the single “Run,” and made more when its video was viewed 2.2 million times in the first 24 hours. Today, they’re in the news again as they’re slated to return to the Voodoo Music and Arts Experience, along with Kendrick Lamar, The Killers, LCD Soundsystem and DJ Snake.
The Breton Sound plays arena-sized rock in indie-sized rooms. Many of the band’s models are pop classicists—The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Monkees, Big Star—but the results are closer in spirit and sound to Weezer and Foo Fighters. It’s no coincidence that when the band performed a couple of Desert Island Disc shows last year, they covered Pinkerton and The Colour & The Shape from end to end.
[Update] When Foo Fighters performed in the front window of Preservation Hall, The Breton Sound’s Jonathan Pretus made it to the front row. Nola.com ran a photo of him, his wife Julia and his brother Brian from punk band Pears separated by a barrier and three feet from Dave Grohl, and the band’s recent EP makes his affection for the band clear.
I’ve contended from the start that Sonic Highways, Foo Fighters’ HBO series, works best as autobiography. It doesn’t so much shine a light on the cities’ music cultures as the parts of it that Dave Grohl related to.
Since Foo Fighters' appearance at Voodoo, I've been riding Dave Grohl and Sonic Highways pretty regularly here (and here) and on Facebook--probably creating the impression that I'm more hostile to him than I actually am. He's too amiable for me to genuinely dislke, and there are people making lousier, more cynical music in the world.