Eric Heisig: Foo Fighters brought it
10:21 AM, Sep. 23, 2012
Music fan and PNJ reporter Eric Heisig will be blogging about DeLuna Fest 2012 throughout the weekend.
11:40 p.m. Saturday
A few songs into Foo Fighters' set, lead singer and guitarist Dave Grohl promised the band would play for a long time.
Two hours and 15 minutes to be exact. They played exactly as long as they were scheduled for, but it was still enough.
Since I was 16 years old, I have blown several chances to see the band live. Well, the wait was worth it. Foos brought it, playing the hits ("Everlong," "Rope"), the album cuts (a version of "Hey, Johnny Park!" plagued with sound problems) and the covers (Tom Petty & The Heartbreaker's "Breakdown," The Who's version of "Young Man Blues").
I have to believe that Grohl makes many of the same jokes from tour stop to tour stop. Still, he did admit they pulled out a few tricks not done every night, including having Bob Mould play "Dear Rosemary" with them and having Joan Jett along for a ride for their version of "Bad Reputation."
The one thing I took away, though, is that it seems like Grohl and the band, which includes as many as six members onstage these days, want so badly to be a metal band. Grohl howled like a man possessed during nearly every song, and many (such as an elongated "Monkey Wrench") had breakdowns that put the wannabe shredders to shame.
And while the band didn't have the impact with me that Pearl Jam did (Pearl Jam specializes in making lyrics about very unique situations sound universal, while Foo Fighters just write about universal themes), it was still a heck of a set.
The crowd thought so too, which was noticeably larger than Pearl Jam's the night before. I don't think Zac Brown Band will be able to do as well as either band, though.
9:10 p.m Saturday
Band of Horses ended their set with "The Funeral." It sounds great, as I sit on a curb, resting my tired feet in anticipation of two-plus hours worth of standing for Foo Fighters.
Luckily, Band of Horses is a good live band. As they perfect their version of space rock meets Southern rock meets country, their show has gotten more interesting, intricate and huge. The last time I saw the band was a daytime set at a small music festival about 7 years ago. They are not the same band anymore.
Despite this, the band is not the most exciting to watch, and "NW Apt." and "No One's Gonna Love You" still sound great while resting on a curb.
So as I sit, the band acts as my palate cleanser, preparing me for the Foos.
8:20 p.m. Saturday
What the heck was that?
Bad Brains just finished their set at the GoPensacola Stage. The band sounds tight as ever, ripping through many of their hardcore, reggae, dub and metal classics with the precision of finely-tuned jazz players.
But what planet was lead singer H.R. on?
Clad in a white suit, white hat and a white see-through shawl that hung down to his knees, he seemed more like a song-and-dance man than the lead singer of a legendary punk band.
I mean, the man was doing full-body dances and snapping and humming along to the fastest songs imaginable. Occasionally his singing was in audible, other times it was indecipherable. He would walk off stage, only to be seemingly pushed back on by someone else to finish the set.
It was a sight to see, I am just confused. This was not what I thought of when I thought of a Bad Brains live set.
That didn't take away from the rest of the band though. Guitarist Dr. Know, bassist Darryl Jenifer and drummer Earl Hudson were as tight as ever, effortlessly switching between genres, switching a song up in a split second. If H.R.'s vocals were sometimes inaudible, the rest of the band's sound mix sounded fantastic, allowing festivalgoers to hear the level of musicianship these guys play with.
The crowd didn't mind either, and a mosh pit had formed by the end of the band's set.
7:15 p.m. Saturday
Joan Jett drew the biggest crowd I've seen yet on the Wind Creek Stage.
Seriously, I didn't know so many people would be this excited to see her. And it was a good show. She delivered all the hits (As I type this, she is playing "Crimson and Clover"). But a few new songs that didn't pass muster threatened to derail the entire thing.
Now. I am in favor of older artists continuing to make new songs. But it will be, fairly, compared to the music of old. And Jett's new stuff wasn't that strong.
Still, hearing "Bad Reputation" and "Cherry Bomb" made up for her stumbles. Jett, who turned 54 today, has a magnetic stage presence, so all was not lost.
Bad Brains is next. This could either be awesome or terrible. There will be no in between.
6:15 p.m. Saturday
Wow. If I have as much energy as Jimmy Cliff when I am 64, I'll be sitting pretty.
Cliff was incredible. He got on stage a little bit before 5:15 p.m. and didn't stop moving until he walked off.
It was one stunner after another. "You Can Get It If You Really Want It." "Many Rivers to Cross." "The Harder They Come." Cliff did them all, and then some.
Backed by an incredibly versatile band, the Jamaican singer was able to find common ground between reggae, rock, ska and R&B. He danced low, marched, and spun around.
It was the perfect music for a beach. But Cliff's music, while upbeat and danceable, almost always has a strong political message. This evening, he may have lost some of the military crowd by singing a protest song about the Afghanistan war (a reworking of his song "Viet Nam," except with a different country), but the message was still powerful.
This was probably my most anticipated set for Saturday, and Cliff couldn't have done better. Best set of the day so far, and one of the best at the festival.
Your turn, Joan Jett.
5:10 p.m. Saturday
Walker Hayes polluted my ears.
Seriously. The Mobile-born singer/songwriter (who now lives in Nashville) could not have been more formulaic if he tried. Every song had that wispy air of a breezy acoustic strummer with nothing to say (apparently he is marketed as a country singer, but I heard little-to-none of that while he played).
And to add to the awfulness, he threw in some hip-hop covers and a bit of Tom Petty's "You Don't Know How It Feels."
I'd rather listen to nothing. Or the soundcheck of Jimmy Cliff's band. Yeah ... Jimmy Cliff soundcheck it is!
4:25 p.m. Satuday
Mike Doughty and his band were my first of the day. He will always be remembered as the lead singer of the 90s band Soul Coughing, no matter how much he doesn't want to be.
But Doghty's solo set sounded like the 1990s reincarnated, complete with semi-hip hop stylings, "na na na" choruses and strummy acoustic goodness. Seriously, I was waiting for the cast of some teenage romantic comedy to drive their parents' car onstage, acting as if they were jamming to Doughty's music while they cruised down the highway.
I enjoyed it. It was a good intro to day two of the festival. I think the rest of the crowd, which is already larger than yesterday's at the same time, treated it the same way.
Next is Jimmy Cliff, and I can't wait. "The Harder They Come" is my ringtone, so I'm in for a treat.