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.
Mercedes have signed British teenager George Russell to their junior driving programme.The 18-year-old, who will compete in GP3 this year with ART Grand Prix, joins as the team’s third junior driver, with Pascal Wehrlein and Esteban Ocon already in Formula 1. Russell was a title-winner in his first season of racing in the BRDC Formula 4 Championship in 2014 and received the McLaren Autosport BRDC Award in that same year.He has followed that up with two strong seasons in the European Formula 3 Championship, finishing sixth with Carlin in 2015 and then third with Mercedes-powered Hitech GP last season.“George has shown impressive form in the junior categories and we’ve been keeping a close eye on him for a while now,” said Mercedes boss Toto Wolff. “It’s still early days in his career but we see great potential in him.”Russell will now look to follow in Ocon and newly announced Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas’ footsteps in GP3, both of whom having won that title on their way to F1.“We have already seen with Esteban how effective this series can be as a training ground,” continued Wolff. “And, of course, this is the championship which propelled Valtteri into Formula 1.“So we will follow George’s progress with great interest.”Russell competed in the same Formula 3 season as F1 and Williams rookie Lance Stroll last year and was the leading driver outside of the Canadian’s Prema Powerteam stable.“It is an incredibly opportunity to have the backing of the world champions,” said Russell, who finished fifth in the 2016 Macau Grand Prix. “I’m proud to have been given this kind of recognition for all the hard work that’s gone into my career over the years so far.“This opportunity is a huge motivation and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram