Foo Fighters Rock Out with Shane Hawkins at Boston Calling

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“We’ve been in this band so long, we really are a family,” Dave Grohl said during Foo Fighters’ headlining show at Boston Calling. “And our families are with us tonight, because we need to do this together.”

Grohl was speaking right before he played a solo rendition of “Cold Day in the Sun,” a song he used to sing with the late Taylor Hawkins. On Wednesday earlier in the week, he’d dusted off the track for the first time in five years, giving an emotional performance during Foo Fighters’ warmup show in Gilford, New Hampshire. “I tried to do it the other night, and I’m gonna try to do it again,” Grohl said on Friday (May 26th). “And I’m gonna do it for Taylor’s family, and I’m gonna do it for Taylor.”

While he was able to get through it this time without choking up, the emotional sentiment was no less powerful. It was made even more impactful because immediately afterwards, Grohl welcomed out “one of my favorite drummers in the world,” Hawkins’ son, Shane. The teenaged drummer had demonstrated his chops during the tribute shows for his father, but as poignant as those performances were, there was something uniquely affirming about Shane’s appearance at Boston Calling.

He joined the band for “I’ll Stick Around,” one of the songs he played during the Los Angeles Hawkins tribute. After spending some time adjusting new Foo Fighters drummer Josh Freese’s kit (“Oh my god, there is a curfew Shane!” Grohl joked while he vamped about missing The National and hearing “the audience going absolutely fucking bonkers” for Niall Horan), he slammed into the song, even cutting off Grohl’s introduction. Head-banging and making faces like he was actually eating the notes, the young Hawkins demolished the drums like a seasoned pro.

It wouldn’t be surprising if in a few years there was another Hawkins on the permanent Foo Fighters lineup. Which is why his performance was so heartening — more than playing in memory of his father, he was playing like he was making a name for himself. It’s hard not to be in the shadow of your parents when they’re as famous and beloved as Taylor Hawkins, but Shane has proven he’s capable of standing out on his own.

And he wasn’t the only young family member to join in for the Foo Fighters big festival “comeback” appearance: Violet Grohl, Dave’s delicate-voiced daughter, was also on hand. She was introduced prior to the “Cold Day in the Sun” performance, echoing her dad on “Shame Shame” and then sitting on the drum riser for “Rope.” The elder Grohl is known as one of the most energetic and engaging front-people in music; the teenaged Grohl didn’t try to match his energy, but just about showed him up with her vocals.

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