Thursday, 6 May 2010

Foals, Newcastle Union Basement, 30.04.10

Igniting the crowd with newie ‘Total Life Forever’ followed by breakthrough hit ‘Cassius’, Foals’ impish lead singer Yannis Philippakis tells us that after eating one of Gregg’s iced buns in Newcastle earlier that day he realised that he “wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but here right now”. Whether or not his sincerity is as artificial as the icing on the aforementioned bun doesn’t matter; the crowd cheers nonetheless. The adoration amongst the fans continues and the set’s frantic pace is relentless, with material from debut ‘Antidotes’ and second album ‘Total Life Forever’ (released May 10th), instigating equal bouts of melee amongst the crowd. ‘Blue Blood’ and ‘This Orient’ seamlessly fit in amongst older singles ‘Olympic Airways’ and ‘Balloons’, continuing the band’s polarising blend of abstract lyrics yelped over skittering drums, electronic bleeps and spikey guitar notes.

The young crowd erupts in raptures for new song ‘Miami’, either out of sheer enthusiasm or because of an internet leak, and the band seems buoyed by the brilliant response to the song, which sees the band flirt with funk. The sound effect of waves ushers in further change with the downbeat ‘Spanish Sahara’, slowly building to a brilliant climax with its eerie refrain of “I’m the fury in your bed, I’m the ghost in the back of your head”. The lyrics and sound of the new songs fulfill the ‘more mature’ second-album cliché, especially the latter two (Yannis even cries in the video to ‘Spanish Sahara'!), but they’re the better for it, downplaying the often annoying vocal style and giving the songs the extra heart that their debut lacked.

The bounce returns to the crowd with 'Red Socks Pugie' and 'Electric Bloom', during which the lead-singer makes easy work of the barrier separating him from the baying crowd and ends up losing his shirt in the frenzy. 'The French Open' and fan-favourite 'Two Steps, Twice' make up the encore and Yannis proves his rock-star credentials by flouting the smoking ban. Sweaty adolescents leave contented.

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