Just before Foo Fighters were scheduled to start their UK-Northern Ireland tour, Dave Grohl, Rami Jaffee, and Rick Astley made a surprise appearance at a tiny club in London.
It was late Thursday night when my friend pointed me to a series of cryptic messages from NME DJ Mark Beaumont. He was scheduled to DJ at the re-opening of Club NME at Hackney’s MOTH Club, and would be following a mystery guest who, in Mark’s words, “couldn’t be more special and only the best of you will guess it”.
Knowing that Dave and the gang were already in London and catching the reference to Foo Fighters anthem Best Of You, I began speculating. My suspicions only grew stronger when the cryptic announcement was followed by three pictures, all referencing Foo Fighters songs: a picture of cows (For All The Cows), the cockpit of a plane (Learn To Fly), and Clark Kent (My Hero, of course).
Once the cat was out of the bag and rumours began spreading that Dave and his bandmates were possibly playing in a small London club, fans scrambled for the £5.50 tickets and the event quickly sold out.
Those fans turned out en-masse on Friday night as the 150-capacity venue was packed with people brandishing Foo Fighters T-shirts, tattoos, and CDs, even though the only act officially scheduled to play was Saint Leonard.
Once the London-based singer and his band finished their set, at around 9.30 pm, Dave and his bandmate Rami made their way through the crowd to the stage. Playing borrowed instruments, on a stage with no barriers, the duo started with Big Me, Dave handling vocals and guitar while Rami played keyboards.
Although the night was far from a typical Foo Fighters show, one thing remained the same: Dave was on top form. With his witty sense of humour and enormous energy, too big even for a stadium-sized crowd, he spoke about his everlasting relationship with NME. And, just as nobody thought things could get any more interesting, Rick Astley stepped onto the stage. “You’re not gonna see this anywhere else,” Dave told the crowd and swung into Times Like These with Rick on drums.
With Rick on stage, it was only a matter of time before the trio played Never Gonna Give You Up with Rick on vocals and Dave on drums (while still holding onto the red guitar hanging around his neck).
Everlong and Best Of You, sung by every audience member, closed the mini set. The lucky 150 people who witnessed the secret performance went back home feeling extremely lucky to have been there. As for me, I went on the overnight coach to catch the mighty Foo Fighters playing in Glasgow the next day.
Words and Photography by Edyta K at The Moth Club on Friday 16th August 2019.