On October 7th, CalJam took over the Glen Helen Regional Park & Festival Grounds in San Bernardino, California, serving as a kickass record release party to celebrate the Foo Fighters’ Concrete and Gold. In founding the event, Dave Grohl drew his inspiration from the original California Jam, a 1974 rock festival at the Ontario Motor Speedway that featured Deep Purple; Black Sabbath; the Eagles; Earth, Wind and Fire; and Emerson, Lake and Palmer among others. Surprisingly, this weekend’s CalJam felt much closer in spirit to its predecessor than even the 16-mile and decades-long divide would suggest. CalJam 2017’s lineup was dominated by hard-driving, ear-splitting rock and roll—the likes of which are rarely seen topping major festival bills, let alone clumped together for a single Saturday.Watch Dave Grohl’s 8-Year-Old Daughter Rock The Drums In Iceland On Friday With The Foo FightersRoyal Blood brought more than enough brash head-bangers to set off a massive afternoon mosh in the pit at Glen Helen Pavilion, dubbed the CalJam 17 stage for the occasion. The UK-based duo of vocalist/bassist Mike Kerr and drummer Ben Thatcher placed itself in the close company of acts like the White Stripes and the Black Keys with standards such as “Figure it Out” and “Little Monster.” By the same token, the Brighton residents distinguished themselves with their bluesier forebears—and jumped whole-hog into heavy metal—with the dynamic distortions of “Lights Out” and “Come On Over.”They weren’t the only purveyors of a bootstrapped music spirit. The Kills aren’t strictly a duo anymore, at least not after adding a collection of percussionists to their act. But in Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince, the band still has a two-part core that can compete with groups of all shapes and sizes at its end of the sonic spectrum. Mosshart reminded the crowd of as much with her menacing farewell during “Black Balloon,” as did Hince with both his guitar and his drum machine on “Hard Habit to Break” from Ash & Ice, the group’s latest release. Unfortunately, only the truly dedicated festival travelers managed to catch their set on the smaller Sun Stage in between acts at the main venue.In that way, CalJam fell victim to the same #FirstWorldProblem that’s become the bane of every festival from Coachella to Bonnaroo: the dreaded overlap. The difference here, aside from the scrunched schedule, is that the acts stepping on each other’s toes weren’t from wildly different genres who happened to land at the same eclectic festival. Instead, the conflicts at CalJam often pitted likeminded rockers against one another.Foo Fighters Respond To Westboro Baptist Church Protest In Most Epic Way PossibleCage the Elephant brought American blues-rock and punk back to the fore in the evening, but only after nailing their rendition of “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” the lone Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers cover of the day. Lead singer Matt Shultz then commenced his typical command of the stage, thrusting and wailing his way through “In One Ear,” “No Rest For the Wicked,” “Mess Around,” “Trouble,” and “Shake Me Down” while stripping from a full suit and tie down his skivvies (mic belt included).The garage rockers from Bowling Green eventually gave way to the desert daze and dazzling lights of Queens of the Stone Age. The sunburnt metal ensemble relied heavily on its 2013 release …Like Clockwork, opening with “If I Had a Tail” and belting out bangers like “My God is the Sun” and “Smooth Sailing.” Considering the proximity to QOTSA’s home base in Palm Desert, it was only fitting to also hear sand-aged standards like “Millionaire,” “No One Knows,” “I Wanna Make It With You,” “Little Sister,” “Go With the Flow,” and “Feel Good Hit of the Summer” sprinkled in—if not cemented—between groovier new tunes like “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now,” “The Evil Has Landed” and “Domesticated Animals” from this year’s LP, Villains.As much as Queens made of its 75-minute set, there was no competing with the Foo Fighters’ epic two-plus-hour journey to close out the festival. Grohl slowly and steadily brought his whole band into the mix with an opener of “Times Like These,” followed by a face-melting run of “All My Life,” “Learn to Fly” and “The Pretender.” The new album, for which this whole shindig was arranged, got plenty of shine. Grohl proudly introduced “The Sky Is a Neighborhood,” one of the singles off Concrete and Gold, before inviting Mosshart and saxophonist extraordinaire Dave Koz on stage for “La Dee Da.” The group allowed the dusty crowd to catch its breath with more mellow additions to the Foo catalog, like “Sunday Rain” and “Dirty Water,” the latter of which featured The Bird and the Bee’s Inara George among the supporting vocalists.With all that stage time on their hands, the Foo Fighters were bound to bust out some surprises. They rickrolled the entire Inland Empire with Rick Astley himself, brought on Joe Perry to play Aerosmith’s “Draw the Line,” and invited Liam Gallagher back onstage for a rendition of “Come Together.” It wouldn’t have been a proper Foo show, though, without ample callbacks to the band’s ever-expanding discography—”My Hero” here, “Monkey Wrench” there, “White Limo” in between and, of course, “Everlong” to close out the festival. [Video: Albert Lam]The lineup itself would’ve been enough to satiate rock-and-roll fans for three days at a weekend-long festival. Instead, CalJam packed all that into a single day, along with carnival rides, water slides, a Foo Fighters museum, a recording studio set up by Gibson, and a slew of scrumptious options from a variety of food and beverage vendors. And if you camped at the adjacent park, you probably indulged in Friday night vibes from the Police Experience, the Atomic Punks, and Trouble Funk if you weren’t busy reminiscing about the Ramones to “Rock N’ Roll High School” at the outdoor movie theatre.Indeed, the new CalJam had something for everyone. The festival offered plenty for anyone who grew up on the alternative rock of the 1990s and 2000s, but more importantly, served as a tribute to the electric pioneers who paved the way more than 40 years ago.
Illinois had to have had just about the worst Madison experience possible Saturday. An away game versus a ranked opponent on their homecoming weekend where the score ballooned exponentially sounds miserable right? Well, it also snowed. Hard. Wisconsin (4-2, 2-1 Big Ten), hosted Illinois (3-3, 1-2 Big Ten) in their own midwestern torture chamber, less aggressively known as Camp Randall Stadium. Extreme weather games always seem to carry that extra allure, so what began as a relatively unremarkable matchup became must-watch Saturday afternoon television. It’s basic math really; football + slippery snow = an immediately more exciting game.Weather aside, the football itself was fantastic — the blizzard merely accentuated a terrific Badger effort. The team’s first two drives yielded touchdowns: a one-yard goal line rush from fullback Alec Ingold and a 23-yard, first career rushing touchdown from wide receiver Aron Cruickshank.Linebacker T.J. Edwards, a notoriously formidable and pro-ready defenseman, somehow accessed an extra boost of athleticism to accompany the bewildering weather. During Illinois’ opening drive, Edwards, playing the spy, stepped in front of quarterback A.J. Bush’s pass, flipping possession and recording only the team’s fourth interception all year. Fellow linebacker Chris Orr would join his teammate in the turnover effort two drives later, securing a loose ball for a fumble recovery amid the swirling snow.Football: Well, you can’t win ’em allI usually wake up on Saturday mornings with low expectations for our Badgers. “Maybe they win, maybe they lose,” I Read…Wisconsin would, unfortunately, fail to capitalize on the Orr recovery, apparently, a hard-thrown spiral is harder to secure when your hands are slick and your vision is blurred. As such, a number of open receivers saw the ball sail through their waiting hands. Wisconsin would punt on three of their next four drives as their ability to convert third downs disappeared.Kicker Rafael Gaglianone had a chance to permanently stamp his name into the Wisconsin record books as their all-time leader in field goals made, but his 27-yard attempt midway through the second quarter sailed right. The theme of football being more difficult in the snow would continue with the miss.The lull in Wisconsin momentum seemed to drone on endlessly — it felt as though the Badgers were destined for another down-to-the-wire finish. But forced turnovers, the ever-illusive luxury every defense dreams of, would make their long-awaited appearance. For a secondary which has struggled mightily to keep pace with opposing receivers and mobile quarterbacks, three interceptions at the conclusion of the first half was an early winter miracle.Football: Badgers season hinges on Saturday’s appointment with WolverinesThe No. 15 University of Wisconsin Badgers (4–1, 2–0 Big Ten) will face their season-defining match-up at the Big House Read…One such interception came at the hands of tackle Olive Sagapolu, a fan-favorite personality and team-favorite competitor alike. Sagapolu deflected a Bush pass directly into his arms, flipping the field and delighting the Madison crowd.The turnover would initiate Wisconsin’s shortest drive of the afternoon. Alex Hornibrook, under immense pressure which he notoriously handles poorly, launched a rainbow to the corner of the end zone as an Illinois defenseman drove directly into the quarterback’s chest. For those who have seen Hornibrook throw under pressure in the past, one can only imagine the atmosphere in the stadium was … tense. But ever-faithful tight end Jake Ferguson awaited the pass with graciously open arms, hauling in Hornibrook’s first touchdown of the afternoon.The ensuing Illinois drive would yield a fifth turnover of the first half, this time a forced fumble. Hornibrook would find tight end Kyle Penniston, primarily a run blocker, alone in the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown, widening the Badger lead to 21.A first half garbage time Illinois field goal would shave a slight margin of the Badger lead, but Wisconsin headed into the locker room the proud owners of a comfortable 28-10 lead.Football: Takeaways from narrow escape in Iowa CitySaturday night, the University of Wisconsin Football Team, seeking redemption from last week’s loss, went to work at Kinnick Stadium against Read…Out of the half, it was Illinois’ turn to profit off of untimely turnovers. Hornibrook’s pass was tipped into the air for that unnerving one to two seconds where the crowd’s collective breath ceased. Into the arms of the Illinois defense, it would land, setting up an eventual 18-yard rushing touchdown.Wisconsin would counter with a drive chock-full of big plays. Running back Jonathan Taylor picked up 13 on a pivotal second and long, Hornibrook nailed wide receiver Danny Davis down the sideline for 22 yards which was immediately followed by an absurd Taiwan Deal score.Deal made first contact with the offensive line and was stopped dead in his tracks, surely he’d only pick up a yard at best. As if by divine intervention, the seas parted and Deal was gifted with 39 yards of open field and a touchdown.A quick Illinois punt served up another Wisconsin scoring drive, this time at the hands of Alec Ingold who found the end zone for the second time. After six straight rushing plays, Hornibrook found Kendric Pryor across the middle for 12 yards and Ingold down the sideline for 19 yards and a score. Hornibrook racked up three touchdowns on the afternoon, a strong showing for a quarterback coming off his worst performance of the season last week versus Michigan.The game from there on out took a rather familiar form. On defense, Wisconsin made quick work any Illinois scoring opportunities, flipping the field in no time at all. While Illinois drives were strung out, Wisconsin drives gobbled up clock ferociously. Each handoff was followed by an identical successor, and before you could say “Wait, Champaign Illinois isn’t spelled like the drink?” Wisconsin was deep inside the red zone.Deal would find the end zone once again, recording the fourth Wisconsin rushing touchdown of the afternoon, none of which were claimed by Taylor. The Heisman hopeful did record 159 yards on 27 carries. Deal, however, stole the show Saturday, posting far and away from his strongest stat line all season with 111 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries.Wisconsin headed home content, annihilating Illinois 49-20. The Badgers travel to Evanston, IL next week to face Northwestern in a game riddled with Big Ten West implications.