Chevy Metal play intimate show with Dave Grohl
pictures by Chuck Walker, recap by Russ Allsup
When I first heard that the band Chevy Metal would be playing Conejo Valley Days in Thousand Oaks, Ca., I knew it was an event I’d want to be at. The group is a side project of Taylor Hawkins, drummer of the Foo Fighters. They’re a power trio that play classic rock covers with an attitude- loud and rockin’. I’d been wanting to see the band ever since a friend of mine had gone to the Conejo Valley Days show that happened last year. At that show the guys were joined by most of the Foo Fighters for what turned out to be a legendary show and a chance to see the guys on a small stage in an intimate atmosphere that usually plays stadiums and arenas. I had tried to see them at the Maui Sugar Mill in Tarzana a few months back but got there after it had started and had already sold out, so I never made it through the door.
I arrived at the festival with my partners in crime Chuck and Mark, and it struck me as an unusual place to see a band like the Foo Fighters- it was like a small version of a county fair. The weather was a typically perfect southern California day, sunny but not too hot, with a lazy breeze. As we entered and made our way to the area where the bands played, I was surprised at just how small this show was going to be. The area was a fenced off corral, with bales of hay in front of a small stage. At that point I was thinking that if lightning did indeed strike twice and Dave Grohl showed up to play a few songs with the band, this might be a show to remember.
The band that was playing when we entered the stage area was Charlie Overbey and the Broken Arrows, playing to about 50 people. They played solid country originals and were a good band, better that most of the same type bands you’d see at a county fair. I made my way forward and found a prime spot about three people back looking at the center of the stage. After Charlie Overbey finished, a couple of roadies started setting up gear for Chevy Metal. My friend Chuck then told me he had seen Dave Grohl hanging out in the backstage area. When I saw a roadie plug in what looked like the guitar that the Foo Fighters’ singer plays, my pulse started to pick up a little. I didn’t want to jinx the moment and get too hyped up over something that might not happen. I mean, why would most of the Foo Fighters play a county fair type event when usually they play for 20,000 people every night?
As Motley Crue’s ‘Dr. Feelgood’ blasted over the P.A., Chevy Metal walked onstage and plugged in their guitars. Then it happened- there was Dave Grohl with a big smile on his face, looking like he was ready to have some fun and play a backyard keg party. The crowd (all 120 or so of us) started going crazy. They came out firing with both barrels loaded, playing a dream set that started out fast and furious and didn’t let up over the course of a staggering 21 song set. This did turn out to be one of those shows that you dream of, seeing one of your favorite bands (or most of it) in a small setting, playing songs from bands they loved for the best reason of all- just to have some fun!
From the first song, ‘Bitch’ by the Rolling Stones, it was obvious that these guys were on a mission- to have a blast, and take the crowd with them. After their opening song, they tore through classic rock song after song with a reckless abandon that was about the pure joy of just rocking out. This turned out to be a show that Foo Fighters fans dream of. At one point, they played 7 of the 11 songs from Van Halen’s first album, playing the entire first side of VH 1 in order, along with the VH classic ‘Panama’.
Other highlights included ‘All The Young Dudes’, ‘Fairies Wear Boots’, ‘The Wizard’, ‘Turning Japanese’ and many more. There was no agenda by the band other than to have a good time, with no rock star egos or big production. At one point near the end of their set, they invited a 10 year old boy to the stage to play drums on the Rolling Stones ‘Miss You’. At that point everyone had big smiles and it was more like a loose garage rehearsal than an actual show for an audience. This was a low key, high energy rock show the way everyone should experience it. It was one of those shows music fans dream of. The band- Drummer Taylor Hawkins, guitar/vocalists Dave Grohl, Bassist/Vocalist Wiley Hidden and guitarist/vocalist Mick Murphy destroyed the small crowd that was there to witness history and to just rock out.