Foo Fighters / The Strokes + Guests - Old Trafford - 18.6.06

With a singer who looks like Earl from the Channel 4 series, dad dances and ad infinitum repeats of a sleazy message to the ladies he almost overshadows the fact that behind is Josh Homme from Queens Of The Stone Age on drums. Eagles Of Death Metal are anything but death metal, but its doesn't stop them being one of the most addictive garage rock bands around at the moment and leave questions of Brendon Benson who? Von Bondies what? The hours leading up to Eagles show in Manchester left us with questions of whether Homme would turn up following QOSTA performance the previous night at Hyde Park, but he doesn't disappoint with his ginger defying died hair and his low-key presence, but steady as they come beats. Admittedly by the end of today's set we couldn't name one Eagles track, but it was entertaining while it lasted and intimate shows later in the year should see the band at their sleazy best grinding their way through an orgy of women in each city.

"This goes out to all the pricks singing along to Orson at T4's Party On The Beach" jeers The Subways Billy Lunn minutes before catapulting himself into the moshpit. If there was one way to prove their doubters wrong and a sure fire way to start a kick ass set than this was it. Straddling the indie rock so blatantly there must be splinters in their undercrackers, the Welwyn
Garden City 3-piece have supported Oasis previously, but here with the Foos it seems so much more fitting. Their first gig back in action after Lunn was bed ridden with laryngitis for 2 months, Lunn seems  a little more reserved and quiet than normal but they still manage to pull off one of their best shows of their career. In the interim Charlotte seems to have turned into Toyah Wilcox, but even that doesn't stop her being effortlessly cool. A short sharp blast of a set, no new songs, but "Rock N Roll Queen" remains one of the best songs of the past 20 years and will remain so forever more.

Tom Delonge spends much of today dodging shoes, sandwiches and any crap the baying masses can find to be thrown and signed up to his box. It starts off playful then it turns into a game of Hit Delonge with ever increasing force. Perhaps its irate Blink 182 fans still p*ssed at the fact he split up their band, but even they have to admit that Angels and Airwaves towers
above them by a great height. If you imagine Blinks last album, surely some of you do, basically thrown in the worlds biggest delay pedal, some U2 and Depeche Mode sized choruses and you have Angels in all their supersize me glory. Unlike Blink there's a political underbelly which while its easy to admire when it stretches on for about 10 minutes even we've slipped off into our Michael Moore book and done with it. While musically there's a lot to admire the crowds unfamiliarity with much of the material leaves a gaping empty hole of a moshpit with people not quite sure whether to mosh, dance or act as if they're shroomed up in the lost field of Glastonbury with the trippy vibes.

What can you say about The Strokes? One great album and then they pissed it all away is how many would sum up their career. Designer Magazine can't help but agree as the band ramble through a fairly patchy back catalogue, the rain pours and only "New York City Cops", "Take It Or Leave It" and "Last Night" can save the day. Sure, Julian Casablancas puts Doherty and Turner to shame by still five years later looking drop dead gorgeous, but good looks can only take you so far before people have to question your talent and the material from recent album "First Impressions Of Earth" and the forgettable "Room On Fire" is painful to listen to, it really is. The Stokes have been given many second chances but as they asked early on Is This It?

The last time Designer Magazine saw the Foo Fighters we walked away in a fit of boredom if there is such a thing, so it's with trepidation that we pay witness to Dave Grohl and the boys again. It was nothing to worry about as 3 songs in, as bottles of piss are flying around the ground, chavs mix with rockers and people are kissing and fighting at the same time we finally understand the Foos and why this disparate group of people are insistent that the band are one of the greatest live bands they've ever witnessed. All these years later you could call it the Nirvana effect, but what it simply comes down to is a collection of great songs that individually you can hum after one hearing, giant f**k off riffs that even the most hardened rock fans would struggle to fall for even under the sugar-coated delivery and Dave Grohl has to be one of the most infectious frontmen of recent year smiling like a cat who's seen Simon Cowells very expensive dentist.

"This Is A Call", "I'll Stick Around", "All My Life" along with newer tracks such as "Best Of You" and "No Way Back" are modern day anthems done the American way with huge production that's the right side of cheese, but just enough gorgonzola for radio. Live tonight with near enough 40,000 people singing along to each and every word, people you'd normally expect to own Hard House Volume 999, it dawns home that maybe the Foos aren't just a default band that the whole world seems to own at least one album but a genuinely great rock band

With all the intermittent rain of today spirits were dampened a little but the music kept us going and while some hardened rock fans complained that the line-up for the northern fans was a little too lightweight compared to the rockfest of Hyde Park Designer Magazine feels that the support cast suitably rocked it up for the doubters

Alex McCann
Photos: Shirlaine Forrest

Click here to leave your Foo Fighters reviews / comments on the Message Board
(NB: The message board opens in a new window so please disable your pop-up blocker to view)

Check out the full photogallery from this gig including all support bands - click here