Favorite live show of 2011: Foo Fighters at Lollapalooza

I’ve been on the fence about the Foo Fighters for years. I think I started losing interest in them when my old boss started asking to borrow my CDs because she kept hearing them on the local alt-rock radio station. Clearly I was no longer in the Foos target audience.

The Foo Fighters played the final slot on the last night of Lollapalooza this year and – truthfully – going into it I was thinking, “This might be a chance to duck out early and, if I’m feeling really ambitious, maybe I can even start my drive back to Ohio”. So glad I decided to hang around – Dave & co. brought their A+ game to Chicago and rocked as if the band had just formed at the beginning of the year and had something to prove (which, of course, they don’t). They could easily have mailed this one in and the crowd would still have eaten it up.

The absolute greatest live concert moment of 2011 for me came just as the Foo Fighters started “My Hero”, a song that I thought I was sick of hearing. The black skies completely opened up and it rained hard. For half a second I thought, “Should I retreat and try to find some cover?” but then realized that a) there was no cover to be found and b) even if there was cover, I’d have to push my way out of the crowd that was probably 30,000 deep. But as the skies dumped buckets of rain not only on the crowd but on the stage, it only fueled everybody up for a huge sing-a-long and the Foos never thought for a minute about stopping.

Here’s some compilation footage I found, including a snippet of “My Hero”.

Favorites of 2011

(Originally posted on Donewaiting.com)

The biggest struggle when putting together this list is how to rank the albums. What exactly is the difference between a #1 and a #2 album? Without doubt, Viva Brother’s “Darling Buds of May” was the song I listened to the most in 2011 and the album it comes from is pretty damn good. But is it my favorite album as a whole? The Damnwells have consistently put out great material and I’m sure I listened to No One Listens to the Band Anymore more, front to back, than any album on the list but did I do that because it’s the best album of the year or because I know the guys personally and listening to them makes me happy?

So, I decided the best way to do it is to list the albums alphabetically, showing no favoritism and not being forced to rank anything. A few comebacks, a few previous favorites, a couple of new UK bands, some metal, some country, some hair metal. Pretty typical for me.

AA Bondy – Believers (Fat Possum)
Not as barebones as early solo material, not as scuzzy as his ‘90s alt-rock band Verbena, AA Bondy split the difference on this moody, late night listen.
Listen: “The Heart is Willing”

Anthrax – Worship Music (Megaforce)
The legendary NYC thrashers pick up where they left off the last time Joey Belladonna sang lead vocals (1990’s Persistence of Time) on 2011’s best (and most surprising considering some internal issues Anthrax had with short-timer vocalist Dan Nelson) metal album.
Listen: “In the End”

AWOLNATION – Megalithic Symphony (Red Bull Records)
I would never have checked out this band had my old friend Christopher Thorn (Blind Melon) not been playing guitar. A complete 180 from Blind Melon’s sound, AWOLNATION’s slickly-produced techno-soul-pop shows a wide range of diversity from one track to the next.
Listen: “Soul Wars”
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Abandon Jalopy sneak preview

Blind Melon bassist Brad Smith will release his second album, Death & Joy, under the name Abandon Jalopy in February. The sophomore release comes more than 10 years after Smith released Mercy and it features guest appearances by fellow Melon members Rogers Stevens and Christopher Thorn as well as Chris Shinn, who sang in Unified Theory, a band featuring Smith and Thorn. Shannon Hoon’s daughter, Nico, also makes an appearance on the forthcoming release (watch Nico sing “Change” with Blind Melon).

Smith says that Death & Joy will get a vinyl release first (vinyl purchase will come with a download code) followed by a digital and CD release. You can get a sneak preview of the music in this video that Smith posted to YouTube.

Download a brand new Imperial Teen track

Out of sight, out of mind; tends to happen these days as bands come and go at an alarming rate. Not sure why, but I kind of thought Imperial Teen was no longer together – in my defense, they haven’t released anything since 2007’s The Hair The TV The Baby and The Band. But not only is Imperial Teen still together, they are releasing their fifth album, Feel the Sound, on January 31, 2012. Though we’re still a good two-and-a-half months away from the release date, Merge Records has posted the band’s first single on Soundcloud. Check out AND download the poppy “Runaway” now.

Imperial Teen – Runaway by MergeRecords

BONUS: Read an interview from 1998 (!!!) that I did with Imperial Teen’s Will Schwartz.

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