When one of the loudest bands in rock switches gears and shows its not-so-loud side, you can't help but listen. Recorded at the Pantages Theater in Los Angeles, Skin And Bones features the Foo Fighters performing songs off disc two of In Your Honor and more, with guest players Petra Haden (violin), Rami Jaffee (keyboards), Drew Hester (percussion) and former Foo Fighter Pat Smear (guitar).
Here's Dave Grohl as you've seldom seen him before: not just live, but as the title Skin And Bones may hint, stripped down to his acoustic core. Well actually, not quite. Rather than just Grohl and a six-string, this collection--recorded at the Pantages Theatre in Los Angeles--harks back to the ensemble feel of Nirvana's 1994 album Unplugged in New York, familiar songs rebuilt by the Foos and a cast of musicians including violinist Petra Haden, keyboardist Rami Jaffee, and even a member of that now legendary Nirvana session, Pat Smear. Stripped of the anthemic breeziness and solid, muscular riffing that have become Foo trademarks, Skin and Bones
relies more on prettifying the arrangements with strings, shakers, and slow splashes of cymbal, and occasionally uncovering new levels of pathos beneath the sweat and grit. "Walking After You" feels custom-written for this format, while the crescendos of "My Hero" gain a little more humanity in this more intimate setting. And when the bigger hits come, Grohl makes up for the absence of feedback and fireworks with sheer frontman charisma, summoning up some throaty Springsteen emotiveness on "Best of You" and climaxing with a heroic "Everlong." --Louis Pattison