Nate Mendel has played in the Foo Fighters for the past 20 plus years. In fact, the only person who’s been in the Foo Fighters longer is Dave Grohl. While Dave’s non-Foo gigs, and there are many (Them Crooked Vultures, Queens of The Stone Age. etc) may have received much of the attention, Nate’s musical output outside of Foo Fighters is just as impressive.
Before joining Dave with Foo Fighters, Nate was a member of Sunny Day Real Estate, an emo band whose music I quite enjoy. Sunny Day Real Estates spawned The Fire Theft, and their debut, self titled, full length, in fact their only full length, was released in 2003 to critical acclaim.
Though Nate didn’t sing on those prior albums (at least, I don’t think he was the lead vocalist), I heard that he was fronting, and singing, for a new band, Lieutenant, and it piqued my curiosity.
Sometime during the Foo Fighters hectic recording and touring schedule, he managed to record an album titled “If I Kill This Thing We’re Going To Eat for a Week”. In between Foo Fighter’s tour commitments, he put together a band and tour to debut the music that he had recorded.
Lieutenant’s music reflects more influences of Sunny Day Real Estate than Foo Fighters. The music is soft-spoken and low-key, which, appropriately, seemed to reflect the Nate’s personality.
If you went to the show expecting a high-octane Foo Fighter’s type performance, then you would have left longing a bit. But if you, like me, went to the show knowing what to expect, it was a solid performance of wistful music performed by a musician who typically plays in sold out stadiums, but instead played the intimate Troubadour.
The venue definitely played strongly to the atmosphere of the music. Clearly, the music was meant to be listened too. The lyrics hit a dark emotional spectrum, ranging from longing to loneliness, and Nate’s audience was attentive, staring at the stage at full attention.