If it’s somehow passed you by, Sound City Players is the latest super-super-group led by Dave Grohl. Centred around the legendary Sound City Studio, the band brings together loads of the artists featured in the wonderful feature-length documentary written and directed by Grohl. That they are all playing live with a record for sale as well makes it a 360-degree experience. We saw the film, got the album and went to the gig. Here’s a review of the last bit.
Six things we learnt watching the Sound City Players in London
1) The setlist is 28 songs long but there are not any slow moments. None of it drags. Why? Everyone onstage is having a whale of a time. The final section where Grohl is on drums with Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen on guitar and Taylor Hawkins singing sees plectrums being flung at and by Pat Smear and toward Nielsen from side of stage. They love it up there. They’re united by a unique love for a unique place and it fills the room. It’s marvellous stuff.
2) Put a bunch of great musicians on a stage and they will make The Forum sound great. It’s often the case where there there are murmurs of how shit the sound is in this venue but how could that be the case tonight? With £60 the face value on the ticket, it just wouldn’t fly, and it doesn’t. It’ loud. It’s balanced. It’s ace. The PA is the same, but the personnel is most definitely not. Tonight is a testament to getting good at your instruments.
3) There are people in the audience tonight who are here purely for Dave Grohl and the rest of the Foo Fighters – they’re all performing here tonight – and the allure of the nature of the first dozen songs is lost on many. For all intents and purposes, it’s The Desert Sessions live. Alain Johannes and Chris Goss are both illustrious alumni of the Desert Scene and have performed with Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme on many projects, and hopefully – after performing songs like ‘Hangin’ Tree’ and ‘She Got Me’ – some will delve into their deep back catalogues as a result.
4) Seeing Grohl, Krist Novoselic and Pat Smear performing together onstage is the closest we’re going to get to seeing Nirvana every again and it was truly magical. The Nirvana section of the movie is the one that struck the loudest chord (Rage Against The Machine recorded their self-titled there after the success of Nevermind) and is a great reminder to listen to the Nirvana back catalogue again because it still sounds so good.
5) Dave Grohl is an enabler. The logistics of getting so many huge names together is mind-boggling both in terms of organisation and finances, but he did it. He brought Lee Ving of Fear over to London for the first time, leaving the possibility of a Fear tour in the future very, very open – something that would please so many old school punks. While the nuts and bolts of the matter is that Grohl is elaborately advertising his clearly excellent new studio with all this, he has also helped and brought together a lot of like-minded musicians with great results. Grohl deserves all the success he gets.
6) There were lots of absentees – Josh Homme, Trent Reznor and Corey Taylor to name just three – but there was a lot of expectation that Paul McCartney would turn up and take tonight from being a very special gig to a legendary gig. Sadly, it wasn’t the case but the memories of Rick Springfield strutting his stuff stronger than men half his age and a shirtless Taylor Hawkins yapping through a cover of Cheap Trick’s ‘I Want You To Want Me’ will live on for many a year regardless.