I saw Foo Fighters man rock Manchester and can't wait for him to return with Dave Grohl and co at Old Trafford

The Californian has a love for a very British delicacy.
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Ahead of the start of the Foo Fighters’ latest tour in June, Chris Shiflett came to Manchester early following the release of his solo album ‘Lost At Sea’ and put on a tremendous show at Manchester Academy. 

Having seen Shiflett on his own before and the Foo Fighters on a number of occasions, I had a good feeling of what to expect and safe to say Shiflett didn’t disappoint. The Foo Fighters guitarist made it look effortless on stage as he gave an enthralling display on the guitar, and his show and his album just highlighted how versatile he is as an artist. 

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Rather than creating an extension of his hard-rocking roots, Shiflett highlighted his versatility with ‘Lost At Sea’, which combines Americana sounds fused with folk rock, country, blues, psychedelia and surf music. Shiflett’s catalogue is almost like a musical montage, but he still manages to make it work and with every song it feels like an emotional journey you are on. 

Chris Shiflett in full flow at Manchester Academy. Picture: Alex DalowskyChris Shiflett in full flow at Manchester Academy. Picture: Alex Dalowsky
Chris Shiflett in full flow at Manchester Academy. Picture: Alex Dalowsky

In a band that features Dave Grohl and featured the legendary Taylor Hawkins, the naturally gifted Shiflett can be somewhat unnoticed on occasions, but here all eyes were on him and boy was he good. As a member of the Foo Fighters, Shiflett is used to performing in front of large crowds in stadiums and at festivals, but his performance here showed he could adapt to crowds in more intimate venues.

Shiflett captured the hearts and minds of the attentive audience and connected with them in a way only he could. The Foo Fighters' fondness for Greggs is well documented - something he referenced on several occasions during his 90-minute set - and later acknowledged with a Greggs flag that was handed to him by a member of the audience. 

He also seemingly has a great eye for talent too. For his tour of the UK, Shiflett brought over country-punk act Willy Cobb for his first tour. I know what you are thinking. ‘Who on earth is Willy Cobb?’ A couple of days ago I would have asked the same thing, but he proved to be a pleasant surprise. The country-punk rocker’s songwriting is gritty but eye-catching, his sound, his look and his accent genuinely remind me of a young Kurt Cobain, and his performance captured the minds and eyes of the audience.

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Flanked by Robert Jolly on the drums and Fox Fagan on bass guitar, Shiflett came out to an electric reception and started off with a bang as he performed ‘Dead & Gone’, ‘Liar’s Word’, ‘Sticks & Stones’, ‘Carrie Midnight Texas Queen’ and ‘Room 102’ to kick off the show in red-hot form. 

Afterwards, Shiflett reflected on his career in music documenting how he got his start and his memories with his first band and followed it up with ‘Goodnight Little Rock’, which is a tale about touring in a van. Hits such as the upbeat ‘Black Top White Lines’, ‘Damage Control’ and ‘Long Long Year’ followed later in the night- the trio proved to be a particular highlight for myself before closing the first part of the set with ‘I’m Still Drink’. 

Shiflett and co returned to the stage for an encore and hit the crowd with his latest single - a cover of Thin Lizzy’s ‘Cowboy Song’ and ‘West Coast Town’ to wrap up a joyous night of music for everyone in attendance.