Foals Show Review | 4.23.11

Lightning struck when the title track, “Total Life Forever”, started with it’s spiky, staccato beats, driving bass and jangly meld of guitar and keyboard.

Firebird, St. Louis, MO

After a momentous Friday night full of tornadoes and disaster in St. Louis, the town was about to be rocked for a second night in a row. Rain poured on the long line of concert-goers prior to the doors for Saturday‘s sold out show opened. After two solid opening bands, The Naked and Famous and Freelance Whales, the atmosphere in the Firebird was already electric in the moments leading to Foals stepping on stage. After the almost comforting introductory minute and a half of “Blue Blood”, their opening tune, thunder was rolling inside the intimate (though sticky, humid) venue. The Oxford quintet successfully reached a feat nearly impossible by many bands in their first 5 minutes – they held the audience captive, made them dance, gave them the ability to feel every part of the music from top (Yannis and guitarist Jimmy Smith) to bottom (insanely tight rhythm section) and wanting more despite only just starting. No one on stage, or in the audience for that matter, missed a beat in shifting from the opener to “Olympic Airways”, an older number from their 2008 release Antidotes.

Lightning struck when the title track, “Total Life Forever”, started with it’s spiky, staccato beats, driving bass and jangly meld of guitar and keyboard. The crowd was influenced to clap along by the drummer lifting his sticks high in the air; add to that the hymn-like choir of all five guys on stage singing “Singularity is here to stay, so go down, go down…” loud and in unison, a few carefully placed hand claps and the audience was buying every bit of what Foals was selling. All was not lost on old fans, though, when they broke out in to “Balloons”. The dynamics of “Balloons” was only intensified by Yannis thrashing about the stage, pushing away the mic stand in to the audience, kicking wildly around stage and performing his almost signature climb on top of any amp stack (or stacks in some cases) while he improvised to extend the song and the other four band members brilliantly kept pace with his musical antics. “Miami” made the St. Louis crowd yearn for the oppressive, sweltering days of summer with it’s funky beats encouraging everyone to sway in a dreamlike haze.
Perhaps the most anticipated song of the night, “Spanish Sahara” got the crowd riled up and kept them crazed as Yannis took a tour, guitar in hand, of the Firebird‘s floor and got a bit intimate with everyone in the crowd.. The crowd turned in to a kinetic ball of energy as the haunting vocals and lush sequencing floated above them and had every one in sight chanting along with Yannis “it’s future rust and it’s future dust”. Foals weren’t about to let up on the already animated crowd and kept the ball rolling with “Red Socks Pugie”.
Luckily for those in front of Yannis, stage right, he cooled them down by splashing a bit of water from his water bottle on them before closing with “Electric Bloom”. Trading his guitar for a large floor tom drum, Yannis pounded away like a mad man in time with drummer Jack Bevan, and again came out in to the crowd, further energizing the insane audience. The swelling cacophony was turned up to 11 as the band and audience fed off one another, both drum sticks were flung in to the frenzy and the band walked off the stage moments after Jimmy Smith took his guitar off the hanging amp where it had been momentarily as Smith tooled with his pedals. After moments of goading and the crowd begging for more with their “FOALS!” chants and screams, they came back to finish with “The French Open” and egged on “Two Steps, Twice” as it was obvious no one had enough fun and rock for the night. Foals have expressed in interviews before that they are a band best suited for live performance and they proved themselves ten fold in St. Louis. | Jenn Metzler 

– Blue Blood
– Olympic Airways
– Total Life Forever
– Balloons
– Miami
– Afterglow
– Black Gold
– Spanish Sahara
– Red Socks Pugie
– Electric Bloom
– The French Open
– Two Steps, Twice
Originally posted at Playback:STL, April 27, 2011.

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