Foo Fighters - Leeds Festival 2012 review

'A slight underlying sense of irritation'

Photographer:Paul Kerr

Virtual Festivals - 25 August 2012

What should be the most anticipated headliner of the weekend is sparsely populated compared with Leeds’ usual standard; no ice cream trucks are roughly commandeered and mounted by intoxicated fanatics, no crowd stretches further than the eye can see. This doesn’t dampen the Seattle rockers’ enthusiasm one bit as 'the nicest man in rock'- aka frontman Dave Grohl- strums furiously, his features contorted in an ecstasy of guitar fingering passion for hit 'All My Life'.

The show is fun;  the band have an easy rapport with the crowd, 'The Pretender' in particular inducing the crowd into frenzied arm-waving, yet there’s a slight underlying sense of irritation. The bulk of the songs are overlong, the quintet consistently partaking in musical masturbation.

It gets tiresome when, midway in, tunes such as ‘Arlandria’ are trotted out like a clash-banging conclusion; perhaps The Foos need to have a re-think about going “on, and on, and on, and on”? However, this boredom is much alleviated during the oddly ten minute long 'Monkey Wrench', where Grohl forces all mobile members to the barrier, picking up a blow up doll from an enthused fan. “I’m gonna have scratches all over me. You guys fucking scratch!” he laughs, after his dutiful meet-and-greet led to a passionate smooch with said doll.

This seems to spur the crowd on to bopping of an even harder intensity, as 'Best of You' pleases all with its chant-starting croons, as the rock act disappear for the encore. Annoyingly, their reappearance is delayed for over ten minutes due to the Foo Fighters’ love of extended sets and other such wankery, yet their eventual second coming brings 'Times Like These'- surprisingly poignant. What with drummer Taylor Hawkins taking the mic for a cover of Queen’s 'Tie Your Mother Down' and closer 'Everlong’, Foo Fighters manage to pull off the headline slot - despite their seemingly underwhelming material.

-- Ali Ryland and Sam Lindsay

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