Column: Foo Fighters take 9:30 Club by storm

WASHINGTON — “Did I say a few more songs? I meant a few more hours!”

When those words came out of Dave Grohl’s mouth at the 9:30 Club Monday night, everyone knew they were in for the long haul.

After weeks of speculation and rumors, the not-so-secret Foo Fighters show was unfolding in front of a sold out crowd. Hot, sweaty and filled with anticipation, a night billed as a birthday bash for Trouble Funk’s Big Tony was that and so much more.

You knew something major was going on when the line to get into the 9:30 Club stretched down 8th Street by 7 p.m. Once the crowd streamed in, the club wasted no time getting pumped as Grohl emerged to introduce the evening. He was, after all, the emcee.

Grohl promised the crowd a night of D.C. music. He introduced The Don’t Need It’s, a D.C. punk supergroup consisting of members of Bad Brains and Scream — Grohl’s old band — with Grohl on drums.

A set full of face paced songs and plenty of crowd surfing got the night going on the right note.

Next came the reason the show was happening in the first place, Big Tony and his band Trouble Funk, a pioneer of the D.C. go-go scene. If you lived in the D.C. area during the heyday of go-go, you know bands like Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers, EU, Rare Essence, The Junk Yard Band and Trouble Funk. But as Grohl remarked during the show, when you grew up with go-go, you figured others around the country knew it, too, but they didn’t. It’s a D.C. thing.

By the end of a blistering hour plus set, it didn’t matter if you knew go-go or if you were only there for the Foo Fighters — you were feeling it either way.

Toward the end of the set, Trouble Funk brought out 9:30 Club owner Seth Hurwitz to sit behind the drums as they covered “Play That Funky Music” to the delight of the crowd before everyone joined in to sing Happy Birthday to Big Tony. Trouble Funk left the stage to chants of “Tony, Tony!!” and gained more than a few new fans by the time they were done.

You could feel the excitement grow as the crew worked hard on stage clearing one setup and replacing it with another. Big Tony left the stage hinting about Dave Grohl and his special secret guests. Between that and the Foo Fighters shirts on sale at the merch table, the secret was a secret no longer.

Finally, a little after 11 p.m, Grohl came out with guitar in hand, an emcee and performer wrapped into one.

He started the song “Times Like These” solo but by mid-song, the full band had come out and the crowd went wild. Six songs in, Grohl mentioned that they had only played a handful of shows in the last two years and “this was the best … practice [they’d] ever had!”

A new Foo Fighters album is in the works and Grohl couldn’t hide his excitement while talking about the project during the encore.

It’s “the coolest thing we’ve ever done as a band and I can’t wait for you to hear it, but you ain’t hearing it tonight,” he said.

The band then launched into closing song and crowd favorite “Everlong.” If anyone in the audience had traveled by Metrorail, they missed the last train as the band played for two solid hours performed 19 songs that spanned their seven studio albums.

The show ended around 1:15 am and a steamy, yet exhilarated, crowd made their way to the door.

Happy birthday Big Tony! Can’t wait to see what you have in store for us next year!

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