SXSW: Sound City Players deliver one last, loud, long, legendary set

Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters performed with the Sound City Players at Stubb’s during SXSW.

Dave Grohl promised a long concert.

And we got one from the Sound City Players.

The supergroup played for more than three hours last night at Stubb’s.

Assembled during and after the making of “Sound City,” the documentary Grohl made about the famed recording studio of the same name, the Sound City Players consist of Grohl, the Foo Fighters and other friends such as Stevie Nicks, Rick Springfield, Lee Ving of Fear, Corey Taylor of Slipknot, Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick, Krist Novoselic of Nirvana and John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival.

“Where else are you going to get so much music for one ticket?” Grohl said.

Does this mean I can check Creedence, Fear, Springfield and Cheap Trick off my “bands I’d like to see” list? I think so. (This was also the closest I’ll ever get to Nirvana when Grohl, Novoselic and Pat Smear were onstage together.)

It was the band’s last night playing, and Grohl was bittersweet.

“So, it’s been a … great evening and a perfect night to spend our last night as the Sound City Players,” he said. “I’m sure there’s a lot of good shows going on tonight, and we appreciate you coming to this one.”

The concert was one of the highlights of the festival, and the venue was packed. Hundreds stood outside waiting to get in, and hundreds more left instead of braving the uncertainty of waiting.

It was a rock ‘n’ roll jam session with all your favorite people playing everything from classic rock to hardcore punk.

During songs such as “Landslide,” played with Nicks, I could tell Grohl was living the ultimate rock geek dream.

The ex-Nirvana drummer and current Foo Fighters bandleader continually had a grin on his face like he was playing some kind of rock fantasy video game where you plunk in a quarter and play with the people on all your favorite album covers.

“I’m just a drummer,” Grohl joked.

Hardly. From Nirvana to Foo Fighters, hes proved his talent. And bu the way he’s assembled this supergroup, no one can doubt his ability to do just about anything in the music world.

One of my favorite moments was when Grohl stepped behind the drums, Corey Taylor of Slipknot took lead vocals, Novoselic (in a satin shirt and floppy hat) picked up the bass and Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick stepped out to play Cheap Trick’s “Hello There” and “Surrender” which was capped off when Taylor Hawkins of Foo Fighters sang “I Want You to Want Me.”

It wasn’t all amazing. Some rock tunes with Chris Goss were good, but nothing I’d shout about from the rooftops. Still, Goss is a well-known producer and musician and seeing him play with Grohl was neat and probably something I’ll never see again.

Also lackluster was most everything from the “Real to Reel” soundtrack recorded by the Sound City Players. It’s a neat idea and it produced some interesting music, but I think everyone was more keen to hear “Rhiannon” and “Jessie’s Girl” on Thursday than they were to hear anything from that album.

Earlier in the set, Nicks sang some Fleetwood Mac classics including “Gold Dust Woman” and “Landslide,” which saw a grinning Grohl performing alongside her on a 12-string guitar.

Rick “f-ing” Springfield, as Grohl continually called him, hit the stage as well with hits such as “I’ve Done Everything For You” and, naturally, “Jessie’s Girl.” And did everyone sing along? You bet they (and me) did!

For rock fans, the performance filled a checklist full of “I’d like to see them sometime” bands.

The finale, featuring John Fogerty, was probably the best. The former Creedence frontman led the band through Creedence’s “Traveling Band” and “Born on the Bayou” before playing his tune, “Centerfield” (a personal favorite).

I was amazed by the versatility of the band. They stuck through styles from desert rock to hardcore and back to pop and Southern rock without issue. There was a heaviness to everything the band, mostly made up of Foo Fighters, did, even on Springfield’s songs.

Fogerty continued with “Bad Moon Rising” – even singing the mondegreen “there’s a bathroom on the right” – and then into “Proud Mary.”

Grohl took some time to thank everyone, fans included before ending the three hour, twenty minute set.

“I just have to thank every single person involved in this ‘Sound City’ project,” Grohl said. “You can only imagine that it’s my life’s greatest gift that I get to call up these people that I consider my heroes and have them come up and jam with me. I’m the luckiest man in the world.”

To finish out, Grohl took the lead vocal on “Fortunate Son,” alternating every verse with Fogerty. We all sang the words we knew and mumbled the ones we didn’t, but it was a cacophony of shouts, clapping, singing and the booming music from the stage.

“Thank you very much, you guys,” Grohl said from the stage after. “God bless you.”



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One Response to SXSW: Sound City Players deliver one last, loud, long, legendary set

  1. Christian says:

    I wish I could have been here! If you haven’t checked out Dave’s Sound City film, take a peak at the trailer below!