Foo Fighters / Cee Lo Green / Band of Horses / No Age

Wembley Arena, London on Fri 25th Feb 2011

Wembley Arena, home to some of the biggest gigs in London, so an appropriate venue for the 2011 NME Awards Big Gig. After a much-publicised year of rock falling away from the mainstream it's a welcome return for the Foo Fighters, with Dave Grohl's Godlike Genius to be celebrated. On top of that, new album 'Wasting Light' looks set to take the charts from the wave of pop-sensations...

The crowd piled in early, almost filling the arena for Band of Horses. Nonchalantly working through their set without much challenge they managed to keep the stage warmed up building the excitement throughout. With a little help from DJ Zane Lowe, there was a buzz of anticipation not just for the headliners but for Cee Lo Green as well. Taking the stadium rock theme to a cliché, he came out wearing a leather jacket, chain and Ramones tee-shirt. With his all female backing band, wearing cat suits and 6" heels, there was no doubt it would be a show. Playing some classic Gnarls he strutted like a star, dedicating most of his songs to his greatest love - sex. 'Crazy' is a classic and new hit 'Fuck You' is pure entertainment.

The Foo Fighters stormed into their set with an energy that only happens when a band are truly excited about the gig. The band rushed through their opening numbers without break not letting up for anyone. From 'Bridge Burning' to 'All my Life' and 'Times Like These' the masses were swelling. Circle pits erupted and beer was thrown – rock and roll.

'Learn to Fly' had everyone singing, and the big Grohl man seemed impressed by the response. Even 'Rope' had a chorus from the audience, not bad for a song that's only been out a few days. Sticking mainly to the greatest hits because he's a Godlike Genius the whole show was a crowd pleaser. Not fussed about OTT fireworks and showiness the band had a simple stage set-up with a giant FF lighting rig, which glowed across the hall.

Filled to pretty much capacity, the pit swelled into a wave of motion for 'Stacked Actors' as the sea of people drenched in sweat bobbed to the surface for air. Crowd surfers drifted like flotsum and jetsam sometimes managing to find the rescuing arms of security at the front while others sank under and were pulled back to the surface soon after.

Saving the best till last they began the encore with a tribute to The Who and finished with 'This is a Call' and 'Best of You'. For those lucky enough to have tickets to the Milton Keynes Bowl gigs, enjoy! Its going to be massive.

article by: Chris Mathews

published: 28/02/2011 13:05

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