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Tennent’s Vital, Boucher Playing Fields, Belfast
Edwin McFee, 12 Sep 2012
Since it was first announced 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 smidgeon 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 bands that turn the amps up to 11 getting 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 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 an 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. While it doesn’t exactly make up for the fact that they never bothered coming to Belfast before, 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 attendance lap up every morsel. We get mass singalongs, an airing of a few bars of the over-played Stiff Little Fingers cut ‘Alternative Ulster’, a huge, fuck-off ego-ramp for Dave to walk up and down and even a backstage camera, just in case the crowd haven’t seen enough of the hairy ones.
There are numerous highlights. ‘Hey, Johnny Park!’ is a particular treat thanks to its old-school melodic metallic riff; the almost proggy sound of ‘Rope’ works really well live and ‘Learn To Fly’ and ‘Monkey Wrench’ have the desired effect on the fairweather fans too.