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Cal Jam 18: Foo Fighters and Friends Reinvent the ‘Rock Festival’ with an Unforgettable Day (and Nirvana ‘Reunion’) — Recap/Photos

Photo: Chris Molina

To witness Cal Jam 18 in San Bernardino, Calif., was to expertise rock and roll in its most pure state in 2018. The Foo Fighters gathered their pals and colleagues at Glen Helen Amphitheater for the second Cal Jam underneath their management, and it was endlessly entertaining.

everyone’s speaking about the show-stopping mini-set of Nirvana songs that got here after the Foo Fighters closed out the major stage — and with good cause, as the all-star set was really particular. However from prime to backside, Cal Jam 18 hit all the spots in relation to what a rock pageant ought to be today.

An all-day music pageant wants issues for followers to do to move the time along with watching bands and artists carry out. Cal Jam excelled in that exact class, as along with music the fairgrounds held areas for patrons to go to the Foo Fighters’ Historical past Museum, a barn crammed with clippings, props, music gear, Dave Grohl’s forged from his notorious leg-breaking a couple of years in the past, and extra. It was absolutely stocked with one-of-a-kind memorabilia for Foo Fighters followers to completely immerse themselves with.

The @foofighters Historical past Museum at @caljamfest is loaded. A lot FF historical past. #CalJam18

— Rock Cellar Journal (@RockCellarMag) October 6, 2018

Judging by the line to get in the barn as the day progressed, this was an enormous hit amongst these in attendance. This man in all probability loved it:

One other standout @foofighters fan at @caljamfest immediately – in a pope hat! #CalJam18

— Rock Cellar Journal (@RockCellarMag) October 6, 2018

As for the music, the lineup was properly constructed, bringing acts from all throughout the rock and roll realm to the similar spot, providing patrons quite a lot of totally different sounds and types all through the day.

Considered one of the earliest bands in the day was Slaves (UK), a duo from England who make a ton of noise with only a guitar (or bass) and a drum set:

Yoooooo @Slaves have it. No matter “it” is, it’s theirs. #CalJam18 @caljamfest

— Adrian Garro (@adriangarro) October 6, 2018

Regardless of their early set and a small gathering watching at the foremost stage, Slaves placed on a hell of a present — the sort that makes it straightforward to think about their full present in a tiny, sweaty membership is simply uncontrolled.

Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, a younger blues guitarist from Mississippi, performed early on considered one of the aspect levels and wailed on guitar, his bluesy fashion mixing with the partly-cloudy environment for a unbelievable introduction to the day’s festivities.

And he did some jamming in the crowd too!

— Rock Cellar Journal (@RockCellarMag) October eight, 2018

Giants in the Timber, a band from Seattle that includes Krist Novoselic (previously of Nirvana) performed on a aspect stage, and it was the scene of the day’s first shock (however maybe not completely sudden) visitor spot when Grohl joined his pal Krist and the band for a track.

Video of @KristNovoselic and @InGiants with Dave Grohl siting in on drums earlier right now at @caljamfest. #CalJam18

— Rock Cellar Journal (@RockCellarMag) October 6, 2018

The cool climate was a little bit of a shock, too, contemplating 2017’s Cal Jam hovered close to 100 levels and made for a scorching expertise.

Photograph: Chris Molina

This time, it was steadily partly cloudy, which made every part that rather more satisfying, and made the view from excessive up in the garden space (taken throughout Manchester Orchestra’s sometimes strong set in the afternoon) particularly good.

Greta Van Fleet at Cal Jam 18 (Photo: Chris Molina)Greta Van Fleet at Cal Jam 18 (Photograph: Chris Molina)

Considered one of the day’s largest takeaways must be the crowd reception for Greta Van Fleet. The younger band’s precipitous rise in the rock ranks over the previous yr has been one thing to behold, and with their debut full-length Anthem of the Peaceable Military approaching Oct. 19, they’re sure to get even greater.

Enjoying at four:30, Greta Van Fleet packed the essential stage space, and followers went nuts — fists pumping in the air and digital camera telephones flashing for songs like “Highway Tune” when singer Josh Kiszka nailed that drawn-out observe:

Additionally, credit score to @GretaVanFleet for attracting an enormous @caljamfest crowd that appeared to be in it for *each* word of their stomping set. #CalJam18

— Rock Cellar Journal (@RockCellarMag) October eight, 2018

Theirs was one in every of the standout units of the day, which says rather a lot contemplating I went into it with heightened expectations because of how a lot buzz they’ve attained in current months. Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, perched side-stage watching the set unfold, was clearly into it as nicely.

I feel there’d be much more peace and respect between us all if we began dressing like the singer of @gretavanfleet. Each final certainly one of us. #CalJam18

— Adrian Garro (@adriangarro) October 7, 2018

Garbage (Photo: Chris Molina)Rubbish at Cal Jam 18 (Photograph: Chris Molina)

As the day turned to late-afternoon and night time started creeping in, who higher to play the major stage than Rubbish?

Garbage (Photo: Chris Molina)Rubbish at Cal Jam 18 (Photograph: Chris Molina)

Shirley Manson and the guys turned in a ten-song set that was crammed with candor (reminiscent of when Manson apologized to the crowd for “fucking up,” earlier than laughing and saying that she truly enjoys it once they do this) and a few of their hits, together with “I Think I’m Paranoid,” “Push It,” “Stupid Girl” and “#1 Crush.”

Shirley Manson of @rubbish holding courtroom as all the time tonight at @caljamfest. #CalJam18

— Rock Cellar Journal (@RockCellarMag) October 7, 2018

Tenacious D (Pic: Chris Molina)Tenacious D at Cal Jam 18 (Photograph: Chris Molina)

The most important crowd at the aspect levels got here for its last act, Tenacious D. Presumably slotted on a aspect stage for time stream functions on the most important stage, it was fairly apparent they might have accomplished simply advantageous on the greater stage.

Respect to @RealTenaciousD for telling the story of the biggest and greatest music in the world at @caljamfest.

— Rock Cellar Journal (@RockCellarMag) October eight, 2018

With out the props and set design of a typical Tenacious D essential stage set at their disposal, it was considerably good to see Jack Black and Kyle Gass (and their backing band) play a extra conventional set of music — with silliness, in fact, like when their guitarist was possessed by the satan and they needed to interact in a “rock-off” to get his soul again (as featured of their 2006 movie/album The Decide of Future).

Iggy Pop (Photo: Chris Molina)Iggy Pop at Cal Jam 18 (Photograph: Chris Molina)

After the D shut down the aspect levels, consideration targeted over to the essential stage, the place the fiery Iggy Pop, backed by the Submit-Pop Melancholy band (Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme and pals), demonstrated why he’s one among the most cherished (and offbeat) icons in punk-rock historical past.

Iggy might have strode to the stage in a snazzy blazer, nevertheless it was shortly shred in favor of that iconic shirtless look he’s had for therefore lengthy.

Mixing songs from each the Publish Pop Melancholy album Iggy recorded with Josh Homme in 2016 and others from all through his profession, the set was a implausible probability for lots of people in attendance to see his reside present for the first time (one thing that’s in all probability fairly possible). Kudos to the Foo Fighters and their crew for getting Pop on the lineup, as what Homme stated throughout the set (one thing to the impact of “He was teaching you all about music before you even knew you were learning!” is certainly correct.

Foo Fighters at Cal Jam 18 (Photo: Chris Molina)Foo Fighters at Cal Jam 18 (Photograph: Chris Molina)

With the Nirvana ‘reunion’ rumors having swirled for a couple of days, because of the Foo Fighters’ social media channels, when it was lastly time for the band to take the stage, there was an anticipatory air about issues. Grohl promised a particular present and ‘treats’ all through their prolonged set, which discovered the band enjoying songs in reverse chronological order. Noteworthy  moments of the primary set included Hawkins’ drum riser launching up into the sky for “Sunday Rain”:

And Grohl dedicating a part of “Arlandria” to his mom, Virginia, who was sitting on the aspect of the stage watching her son do his factor.

Starting the set with 4 songs from 2017’s Concrete and Gold despatched a little bit of a message, as that was considerably shocking, and it continued as they slammed via hit after hit. It was particularly odd seeing “Everlong” carried out nicely earlier than the finish of the present, as is nearly all the time the customized at a Foo gig. However they have been dedicated to the “playing everything in reverse” plan, culminating in a primary set finale of “For All the Cows” and “This Is a Call,” off the 1995 self-titled debut document.

Then, it occurred. Even figuring out that a particular reunion, of types, of remaining Nirvana members Grohl, Novoselic and Pat Smear was coming, it nonetheless packed an emotional punch. Seeing Grohl slam the drums on a number of basic Nirvana songs isn’t one thing followers have had many possibilities to see over the years, not to mention Novoselic standing there plucking the bass accordingly. Particular point out have to be given to Deer Tick’s John McCauley, who subbed in for the late Kurt Cobain and was good, his voice hitting the jagged, snarling tones of “Scentless Apprentice” in as dissonant and pained a means as on Cobain’s unique model.

Three songs in, Joan Jett took over for McCauley, singing “Breed,” Smells Like Teen Spirit” and “All Apologies” to cap off a very unforgettable second.

Oh, simply @joanjett enjoying Smells Like Teen Spirit with Dave Grohl, @KristNovoselic and Pat Smear to shut out @caljamfest after an amazing @foofighters set. No huge deal. #Nirvana #RIPKurtCobain #CalJam18

— Rock Cellar Journal (@RockCellarMag) October 7, 2018

By the time it was throughout, a light-weight rain was sprinkling, as if the spirit of Seattle was making itself current in honor of Cobain (please excuse the considerably apparent climate cliche), and one other Cal Jam was in the books.


Photograph: Oliver Halfin

— Foo Fighters (@foofighters) October 7, 2018

A private remark about the venue: Glen Helen Amphitheater has a sure status, no less than amongst on-line evaluations, as being a problem for followers in nearly each method. Whereas leaving the parking zone was a chore after the present (gridlock was seen in almost each dust lot and it was considerably complicated) and visiting the a number of levels required scaling a number of grassy hills (which might be robust for some people), general there have been few problems with notice.

No phrases. Thanks.

— Foo Fighters (@foofighters) October 7, 2018

Two years in, the Foo Fighters have clearly hit gold with Cal Jam — and whereas it’ll be robust to prime the Nirvana set and all its magic, we will’t wait to see what the guys prepare dinner up for 2019.