Words & Photos David McEneaney
As if being the lead guitarist for one of the biggest and most loved rock bands in the world wasn’t enough, Chris Shiflett is a hell of a lot more than that as well.
He has played in various bands since the late 90s, joining the Foo Fighters in 2002 but also juggling multiple side projects and solo albums at the same time ever since. I genuinely have no idea how he does it.
He started the first night of his latest UK & Irish tour last night to a sold out Whelans, Dublin.
In fact every single night of his tour is sold out, and I can see why.
He is currently touring with his friends and bandmates Fox Fagan on bass and Robert Jolly on drums, in what appears to be a stripped back ’small’ tour of some more intimate venues, a far cry from the packed stadiums he usually plays to. He has just launched the excellent new single ‘Black Top White Lines’ ahead of a new album later in the year, and if you haven’t heard any of his solo stuff yet then this is a perfect place to start. It’s quintessential Shiflett, and catchy as anything.
I can only imagine this is a way of going back to where it all started for him, playing smaller shows to crowds who really appreciate the music while also just going on a tour with his mates and having some fun. Fun is exactly what the band and everyone in the venue were having last night, thats for sure.
For a first gig of a tour, I doubt you would find a better way to start.
The band were in very high spirits and engaged the crowd and each other with massive smiles on their faces. At times I felt that they were enjoying the gig even more than the small army of fans who were laser focused on Chris’ every move up and down his fretboard (in-between trying to get photos of his pedal board of course).
If someone were to ask me what kind of music he played, my answer would have to be ‘yes’.
It is like a concoction of everything from Country Rock to Blues, Honky Tonk with a dash of Classic Rock mixed with some Americana and all brought to the boil with a slight hint of Punk. Not what you would imagine from a Foo Fighter, but also exactly what you would imagine Chris to be playing if you listen to his guitar work on their albums at the same time.
The band played an extensive set covering both of his solo albums and some stuff from the new one too.
It was everything you could want from this type of gig.
Three musicians on stage who knew their instruments inside out and each others style even better, a room full of fans who ranged from people who wanted a close up sighting of a Foo Fighter in the wild, to people who loved the multiple genres of music they were playing, to the hard core guitar fanatics who seemed to be treating it as a guitar masterclass as well as a gig. Oh and a short but very sweet attempt at ‘Jailbreak’ by Thin Lizzy when the subject of Fox Fagans choice of t-shirt came up.
Anyone who knows about Chris’ solo work has already got their ticket for the rest of the tour, and as each gig is already sold out it is probably futile for me to advise you to go see him if you can, but if you’re interested in this type of music and want a pure, raw, intimate, fun, loud, entertaining gig while watching one of the best guitar players I’ve seen live, then get yourself a ticket if you can.
For those of you who already have one, you don’t need me to tell you anything else. I would just advise arriving early to secure your place in the crowd, because the entire night last night no one moved an inch for the entire gig.
Although if you are ok with hanging round the back you won’t have to queue for the bar or toilets I suppose…so there’s always that.
Sticks and Stones
Girl’s Already Gone
I thought You’d Never Leave
Blow Out the Candles
Goodnight Little Rock
Black Top White Lines
Long, Long Year
Dead and Gone
This Ol’ World
Marfa on my Mind
Welcome to your First Heartache
I’m Still Drunk
Working Man Blues
West Coast Town