REVIEW: Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways 6 – New Orleans – “In the Clear”

FOO FIGHTERS – Sonic Highways 6 – New Orleans – “In the Clear”

New Orleans.  Streetcars, paddlewheels, big brass and the Foo Fighters.  Let’s rock!

The city is alive with music, all day and all night.  It starts with the jazz, Louis Armstrong all the way down to Harry Connick Jr.  Little Richard transformed it into rock and roll.  Dr. John was born there, and was mentored by Louis Armstrong.  Preservation Jazz Hall was the historic place to be, but could it stand up to the full blast of the Foo Fighters?  The streetfront venue picks up all sorts of crowd noise, from horses to passing musicians.  It’s all part of the charm.

In this installment, Dave speaks to Allen Toussaint, born and raised in New Orleans, in a segregated city.  It was actually illegal for black and white musicians to share a stage together.  “It just seemed jive to me,” says Dr. John, who played with who he wanted to play with regardless of the consequences.   Allen Toussaint wrote one of his biggest hits, “Summer Nights” which was directly inspired by the New Orleans sky at night.  Also from New Orleans came the “first family of funk”, the Meters.  The funk they produced was a new form for New Orleans – the Meters sound.

The Foo Fighters were invited to play the Jazz Festival, an historic event that couldn’t even happen until the end of segregation laws.  Until then, a jazz festival in New Orleans was simply not possible.  It’s an honor to be invited.  New Orleans was a cultural mecca, rich with distinct influences from around the Gulf of Mexico, and Africa as well.  Dave’s also invited to the Hall’s piano player’s house to eat and jam with his family.  It’s a really old fashioned traditional way of life.  Music is more important to the people of New Orleans than any of the other cities they visited.

When Katrina hit, seven of the eight members of the Preservation Hall band lost their homes.  It had a devastating effect but also brought people together.  The people learned to appreciate music just a little bit more.

It’s hard to get Grohl back into the Preservation Hall to work on the chunky, Motley riff of “In the Clear”.  The French quarter has its charms, and he’s busy hanging at the bar across the street with Nate Mendel!  Once they get their shit together, “In the Clear” emerges as a singalong hard rock track.  The lyrics reflect the perseverance  of the city, but the music doesn’t have any of its rich cultural sheen.  For a song inspired by New Orleans, and jamming with these local musicians, it would have been nice for them to shed a bit of the rock.  You can’t hear any influence of the old.

Episode 4/5 stars

Song 2/5 stars (Meat)

Song 3/5 stars (LeBrain)



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