| August 11, 2011 | Comments (440)

Last night the Foo Fighters came to town with Fucked Up, and Montréal’s own recently reunited Doughboys.

Fucked Up are from Toronto and were the winners of the 2009 Polaris Awards.  There set went a little something like this; 7:00pm, enter stage and announce to the only 20% filled arena that Montréal’s crowds are a lot better than Toronto’s. 7:10pm, front man Damian Abraham is shirtless and swinging the mike around like a propeller above his head. 7:15pm, Damian down in the photo pit giving everyone high fives and explaining that he will be amongst the crowd shortly.  7:17pm, praising The Foo Fighters for their kindness on the tour for treating them like gold and being the nicest guys in rock. 7:18pm, Damian has now made his way into the general admission on the floor and is singing/screaming into the mike while moshing with people in the crowd.Meanwhile, the other 5 members of the band played on the stage under fixed lighting for the set and seemed to be used to their singer being amongst the crowd.  7:23pm, charging up the aisle as far as the mike cord will take him to meet more people in the crowd and give even more high fives. 7:24pm finds Damian on the other side of the stage; hugging people in the crowd and letting himself fall backward onto the crowd while screaming into the microphone. 7:30pm, ending the set and taking photos with newfound die hard fans. I’ve never seen a crowd embrace a relatively unknown opener so quickly and with such passion, that’s Fucked Up.

The Doughboys set was a little less energetic.  Consisting of 4 members, the Doughboys are a band that was around from the late 80’s to the mid 90’s.  They were well known for their song “Shine”, which was used as the theme song for the Wedge, a Much Music program popular in the 90’s for playing alternative music once a week.  They performed a 40-minute set that wasn’t as well received as Fucked Up, but there were definitely some big fans in the crowd.  They played some songs off of their new album “Do I Look Bald In These Pants”, which seems like an appropriate title considering 3 of the 4 members are bald.  A point of interest was when Brock Pytel, an original member of the band that left in 1990 joined them on stage.  Other than that, they really weren’t much to write home about, but in their defense, following Fucked Up and opening for the Foo Fighters is a hard position to be in.

The Foo Fighters played to an audience of 10 940 people.  A number that had Dave Grohl chugging a beer in celebration, since, as Taylor Hawkins pointed out, there were 3000 more people at the Foo’s concert then were going to be at the Britney Spear’s show the next day at the same venue. “Finally, we fucking beat Britney…figuratively” Dave said after hearing the good news.

The venue was set up with the main stage at one side of the arena, with a long fenced off section down the middle to the other side where there was a smaller stage near the back of general admission.  The light show was pretty incredible.  There were 12 rotating mulit-sided screens that would change, move and disappear depending on the song.  On a number of occasions the FF logo was displayed on all the screens behind the band with spotlights on the different members of the stage, backlights under Taylor Hawkins drum stage, as well as a large curtain that was lit up behind the stage for parts of the concert.  There were also two big screens to each side of the stage. All in all, it was pretty incredible.

They opened the concert with Bridge Burning, followed by Rope, Pretender, and My Hero.  My Hero was definitely a fan favourite with everyone in the place singing along, making it sound like there was a gigantic chorus backing the band up and giving the song an even richer sound.  After playing the first few songs without any breaks, Dave Grohl tried his hand at a little French, asking the crowd “Hey, how are you? Ca va bien?” He also commented that the Foo Fighters hadn’t been in Montreal in a long time so they had some catching up to do.  With a setlist of 24 songs, he wasn’t kidding.

Learn To Fly, White Limo, Arlandria and Breakout were next, followed by a now shirtless Taylor Hawkins singing Cold Day, and Dave back on vocals for Long Road.  Stacked actors was when the already crazy and energetic set spiraled into a perfectly chaotic climax.  Dave and Chris Shifflet had a guitar-off, so to speak.  Dave ran to the small stage while Chris remained on the main stage.  The two guitarists then took a little time to show their dominance over their respective instruments, blowing everyone else away while doing it.  Mind melting solo after mind-melting solo had them constantly trying to one up each other from either side of the arena.  Dave took everyone by surprise when the stage he was on began rising into the air with him on it.  It was pretty spectacular and both musicians have definitely proved their right to be playing such a huge show.

Throughout the night, there was a nice dialogue between songs, and a great chemistry between the members of the band, particularly Dave and Taylor, who really seemed to love playing off of each other.  Dave called Nate out when introducing the members of the band, and said “Come on Nate, give us something for fucking once, you’re a pussy”, but it was all in good fun and got a good laugh.

Walk was something to see.  Everyone in the room was clapping along and from my seat it looked like a sea of arms all moving in perfect rhythm. During Generator Dave looked a bit like The Beatles with his side step dancing, as well as his side to side head shake.  I half expected to hear a “Hoooooo!”, have him switch into one of the Fab Fours songs.  Sometimes he looks so young and innocent while dancing back and forth, smiling from ear to ear, and then a song like Monkeywrench would come along and the way he broke down into a bluesy guitar solo had you questioning if you werein fact watching the same man.  Taylor was unreal on the drums, and was dripping with sweat about an hour into the concert.  Nate Mendel, Chris Shifflet, Pat Smear, and Rami Jaffee were all in top form last night and according to Dave, show you what a real band sounds like without the necessity of autotune or a computer for live shows.

Let It Die, These Days, Skin + Bones, This Is A Call, and All My Life were next up.  While Singing These Days, Dave related, “I think I finally wrote the song that I’ve always wanted to write.”  He also talked a bit about opening up for Bob Dylan on tour to a crowd with maybe 10% Foo Fighters fans, 30% people who had ever heard them before and the rest standing in the crowd with their arms folded looking unimpressed.  He said they had to bring it every night, since much like Fucked Up, he had to win over the crowd in a shorter amount of time being relatively unknown to the people.  Skin + Bones was what he said helped him do that.  This Is A Call was introduced as the first song the Foo Fighters ever played together, and All My Life was another showstopper.

I’ve read that Dave chews gum while performing to keep his throat lubricated so that he can scream, but he told us last night that he also drinks whiskey and screams before the show to get him ready, “Doctor’s orders!”.  After a lengthy instrumental break, Dave said, “This is the part where I have to fuckin’ scream as loud as I can… This part I like to do in the dark”. You could hear the hoarseness in his voice as the lights went down and he screamed along to about 2/3s of the words in All My Life.  His cross choker looked as though it might break from the strain his throat was under from having to scream so much, but the sound was unreal.  No doubt about it, he is definitely the best screamer in the biz.

After All My Life the band left the stage, only to appear on the video screens minutes later backstage with their hands to their ears pretending they couldn’t hear how insanely loud the crowd was calling for them.  They started miming to ask if we wanted maybe one more song, or two, or maybe seven or ten as Taylor was gesturing.  During this, Dave snuck back onto the smaller stage in the middle of the crowd and was lifted up about 15 feet in the air to play alone to the crowd for a few acoustic songs.  The crowd went wild and Dave asked the crew to “Light ‘em up! I wanna see these fuckers bright!” while he performed Wheels, Best Of You, and the first half of Times Like These before the rest of the band came back out on stage to finish the show.

The night ended with a cover of a cover, the Who’s Young Man Blues, and finished with Everlong.  By this point the entire crowd had let loose, was dancing and singing at the top of their lungs and seemed to know all of the words.  Dave ended by saying “Ladies and gentleman, that was a fucking good night, I gotta say.  As long as there’s people who like to come out and sing along to fucking rock ‘n roll songs, we’ll keep making records for you”.  From the sound of last night, the Foo Fighters have a very long career ahead of them.  Thank the rock gods.


- Text by Crissy Jarvis - 
- Photos by Claudia Matteau -


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Category: Photo Updates, Reviews