Here’s a quick rundown on Dave Grohl’s résumé: He was the drummer with Nirvana. That really ought to be enough, but Grohl also fronts the long-lasting and arguably more commercially successful Foo Fighters. This year the grunge-lite, neo-classic rock Foos released their ninth studio record Concrete and Gold.
The album has moments of Queen-like stadium grandeur on album-opening amuse-bouche “T-shirt,” muscle car riffs on “Make it Right” and acoustic moments with ’70s FM radio throwback “Dirty Water.” Elsewhere, “Run” builds to a fevered, hardcore climax, reminding us that Grohl’s still a punk at heart.
Grohl also seems to be one of rock’s nice guys: affable, self-effacing, able to strut around rock music’s largest stages and seem pretty down to earth. That counts for a lot. You can imagine buying a snare drum from him at the local music shop. You’d have no issues if he hung around with your kid, showing them some guitar pointers.
Maybe it’s for this reason Foo Fighters come off flat sometimes. Or that, fairly or unfairly, Grohl rose to prominence drumming with the once-in-a-lifetime, cathartically brutal Kurt Cobain. That’s a hard act follow. Even at their hardest hitting, Foo Fighters are neat and orderly, too sanitized for mass consumption.
Nevertheless, Foo Fighters are a competent gang of contemporary rock ’n’ roll survivors, and they’re hard not to like. After all, they aren’t Nickelback.
These days we need some good guys to finish first, and if that prize goes to anyone, I can think of nobody better than Dave Grohl.
Foo Fighters play 7:30 pm Tuesday, Dec. 5, at Matthew Knight Arena; $52-$102, all-ages.