Cal Jam ’18 By The Minute Review

Foo Fighters (John Gilhooley)

By: Nate Jackson, Brittany Woolsey and Tara Lynch

2:35 p.m. I’m in San Bernardino and not at risk of heat stroke or dirt inhalation. This feels like I’m in an alternate universe and must only mean one thing: Dave Grohl really is a God. Praise be to him. (Brittany Woolsey)

3:10 Before Cal Jam, we get to enjoy Traffic Jam. Closing in on the festival, I’m slowly lurching toward the Glen Helen festival ground on a winding, two-lane highway as the muffled boom of the festival echoes down the hill. Come on cars, go faster! (Nate Jackson)

3:15 Manchester Orchestra ’bout to take us to church. (BW)

Nate Jackson

3:25 Hay now, I guess we’re definitely in San Bernardino. At least this is a good marker to remember where we parked. (NJ)

3:35 A long walk ends with an uphill jaunt toward rock-n-roll Valhalla. My calves are burning but there’s a literal rainbow at the end of this workout. The welcome arch of the classic festival logo awaits me with open arms. (NJ)

Nate Jackson

3:45 Manchester Orchestra just played my favorite verse (and only that verse) of my favorite song, “I Can Feel a Hot One” then immediately transitioned into a different song. Way to give me blue balls. (BW)

4:07 I hear a someone doing  Zeppelin cover songs in the distance. Did Greta Van Fleet go on early? No wait, that’s just an open mic happening by the food court. Some rocker dude in Sunset Strip apparel is doing “Ramble On” with a smoked leg poking out of his backpack. (NJ)

Greta Van Fleet (Dick Slaughter)

4:35 The members of GVF are adept at conjuring their influences. While they’ve gotten both backlash and praise for this, there’s no question they do it better than 99 percent of bands who attempt this form of rock-r-roll hero worship. A couple young girls in front of me are absolutely fawning over the singer Josh Kiszka as they hold up their cracked iPhones to take photos as if their lives depend on it. (NJ)

4:41 During “Safari Song” Kiszka busts out a tambourine while his bros Jake and Sam wail on their instruments backed by ferocious drummer Danny Wagner as long-tailed rolls of toilet paper stream through the air in the pit. We are definitely in the bowels of Cal Jam right now. (NJ)

4:43  Greta Van Fleet members are legends. The lead singer’s dance moves (and voice) are definitely Robert Plant-esque. (Tara Lynch)

4:53 We’ve acquired dole whip and went to the bar to get a shot of rum. Put the two together and suddenly, this is truly the Happiest Place on Earth. (BW)

5:35 I just asked Andy Hull to play “I Can Hear a Hot One.” His response? “I wish I could remember the lyrics to that one.” Guess I’m getting no relief for these blue balls after all. (BW)

5:45 I met Brian Sella an hour ago and I just shook hands with Andy Hull. Emo achievement unlocked x2. (BW)

Garbage (John Gilhooley)

6:05 Yes most of the crowd watching Garbage only care about Shirley Manson. I for one am here for rock legend Butch Vig. Give the drummer some! (NJ)

6:07 During “Paranoid” Manson is definitely on a mission up there, stomping and running around with the red stripe painted across her face matching her red fishnets and fire-engine red ponytails like she’s ready for war. (NJ)

6:12 Garbage covered “Your Own Personal Jesus” by Depeche Mode, and WOW I just gained even more respect for them. (TL)

6:31 My boyfriend said Shirley Manson (singer of Garbage) is hot, and I’m not even mad. (TL)

6:51 As the band hit the second verse of “I’m Only Happy When it Rains” gathering grey clouds drop a few sprinkles right on cue. Remember that next time anyone doubts the power of rock-n-roll. Do you see mumble rappers controlling weather patterns with their lyrics? No, “making it rain” Benjamins doesn’t count. (NJ)

Dave and Lemmy (Nate Jackson)

7:05 The Foo Fighters’ mini museum is a cool little walkthrough filled with treasures for die-hard fans. Getting through the line at this point in the evening was pretty swift and the artifacts inside were definitely worth a look–from the band’s first demo cassette to props from their videos and TV appearances (Dave’s fake decapitated head!), album covers, handwritten notes of praise from the likes of Howard Stern and Neil Diamond…and this stellar photo above. The other highlight was sitting in the white limo where these Lemmy and Grohl raged together in the video for said limo back in 2011. LEMMY FOREVER! (NJ)

Tenacious D (John Gilhooley)

7:09 Jack Black and Kyle Gass have legendary beards and dad jeans. YES. (TL)

7:19 I started the first Tenacious D mosh pit of the night — not trying to brag or anything. (TL)

7:36 Currently listening to “Tribute” for the first time a teenager asks his friend looks over to his friend and asks “Is this the greatest song in the world?” Bro, have you been LISTENING to the lyrics for the last several minutes? (NJ)

7:50 In this day and age, we need reminders and songs about chivalry. Leave it to The D to have the words of wisdom tonight: “You don’t always have to fuck her hard. In fact, sometimes that’s not right to do…” (BW)

7:54 The tribal wail echoing from the speakers during the opening of Iggy Pop’s set is a weird choice, but I’ll roll with it. From behind the thunder of Josh Homme and the “PPD Band,” the proto-punk godfather emerges in a sporting suit jacket (which won’t be on for long). (NJ)

Iggy and Post Pop Depression (John Gilhooley)

8:00 Iggy’s stellar operatic tone on “Sister Midnight” is good enough to make me forget that it’s only 8 p.m.  (NJ)

8:24 We’re missing Iggy Pop because this food stand is selling way more food than it apparently has ready and it’s taken 20+ minutes so far for us to get a damn kielbasa. (BW)

8:37 The fire Iggy brings on China Girl (a song he rarely ever plays) is the definition of vitality. (NJ)

8:58 Everyone stole the plastic flamingo props from an art display, and it kind of made the whole night that much better. Those flamingoes are in all of my videos for sure. (TL)

9:35 Huh. Who knew that the Foo could open with a song other than “All My Life”? Literally, every other show I’ve gone to of theirs would suggest otherwise. (BW)

9:40 Damn, these Foos even have backup singers now? The blizzard of sound radiating from Grohl’s eight-piece band is a thunderous reminder of the power of rock-n-roll.  (NJ)

Dick Slaughter

9:45 Dave Grohl (singer of Foo Fighters) keeps asking everyone if they’re having a good night *tear drop* (TL)

10:15 I noticed this sincere appreciation that Dave has for all of his band, the Cal Jam festival that he has brought back to life, and all of the fans. Can he get any cooler? (TL)

9:48 Taylor Hawkins’ drum kit rises up to toward the roof of the stage as he pounds away. “It’s a little early for a drum solo, but fuck it!” he says as he launches into his lead vocals of “Sunday Rain.” Lesson to drummers: When it’s your turn to sing, better go big. (NJ)

Taylor Hawkins (John Gilhooley)

9:51 Is that Lady Gaga on Hawkins’ bass drum? Nope, It’s Perry Farrell (BW)

10:06 A sea of handclaps rolls through the audience as Grohl douses himself with an entire water bottle. I’ve never seen a man more relieved. (NJ)

10:54 Foo Fighters taking us back in time through their discography. Let’s go even further back into this little grunge trio Dave Grohl used to play drums in… (BW)

11:02 Grohl took a fat hit off of a joint before singing “My Hero”; okay yes he can get cooler. (TL)

11:12 hearing “Everlong” live is one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. (TL)

11:39 The rumors were true! We’ve got a surviving-members-of-Nirvana reunion, plus other special guests. (BW)

11:42 How long before Courtney Love catches wind of this and decides to try to sue? (BW)


12:02 a.m. And Brody Dalle from Distillers just took over on the bass for “All Apologies.” Having her and Joan on the same stage is just mind-blowing. Strong, female musicians FTW. (BW)

12:59 (To the tune of Foo Fighters’ “Walk”) Staying in park again. I believe we’ve waited long enough. When are we drivin? … Do you remember the days? When cars would move and just go on their way? I think we’ve found our place. Getting tired and restless, just staying in one space. … Staying in park again. I believe we’ve waited long enough. When are we drivin? … Now for the very first time. We’re inching forward in line. Again. … I don’t know why we’re really stuck in line. I’m really stuck in line. I really wanna drive. I really wanna drive. Forever forever it seems we’ll be in line. I’m on my knees I’m begging for a sign. Forever forever. I really wanna drive. I really wanna drive. Forever forever I really wanna drive. … Staying in park again… (BW)

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