Live Review: Foals "put it all on the line to deliver a good show"
Foals have a live reputation that precedes them; they won best live act at the 2013 Q Awards and have played festival after festival across the globe. After witnessing them on Sunday the 21st of July for their Splendour in the Grass sideshow in Perth, a show multiple attendees I spoke to rated amongst the best they have seen, it is safe to see why.
Perth grunge/alternative rock act Tired Lion were the opening act for this particular night. Their down-the-line approach to rock worked well to get the audience hyped, and they delivered their set with high energy. The promise and debut of new material is sure to excite fans.
Foals began the night with ‘On the Luna’, a highlight from their latest record Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost, Pt 1. It was instantly obvious that this was a well-trained live act, playing exceptionally tight together even where the arrangements got more complicated. A highlight of their set was their seamless transitions between songs throughout, such as the trip that ventured from ‘Olympic Airways’ to standout single ‘My Number’ and concluded with ‘Black Gold’.
Fans of all their albums would have been pleased, with cuts from all their studio records given their due, and all received a warm reception. Foals were also sure to include tracks from their previous outing, What Went Down, that they had not played in years (namely, ‘Birch Tree’ and ‘A Knife in the Ocean’); in their words, they were making up for lost time as their last planned outing to Western Australia was unfortunately cancelled due to bushfires. A sure standout was the eternally-moving fan favourite ‘Spanish Sahara’ from Total Life Forever (2010) at the midpoint of their set, with the pacing of the setlist serving to highlight the emotions it encapsulates. My only wish is that they played ‘Blue Blood’, but it is hard to please everyone with a discography now five albums deep.
There were other factors that ensured this show was a winner beyond technical prowess and song selection. The sound was spot-on; you could hear all six members on stage perfectly and in just the right place in the mix. The lighting also did a fantastic job of emphasising but not distracting from the performance, with the stage decked out in vertical lights that occasionally interacted with each other to form bars of light between each other.
But the biggest factor was the magnetic stage presence of frontman Yannis Philippakis. The crowd was all too pleased to clap, sway, crouch down and jump on demand, and the band matched this energy. During the “rowdy” set closer ‘Inhaler’, Yannis disappeared to the bar at the back of the ground floor of Metro City. During the equally rowdy encore closer ‘Two Steps, Twice’, he visited the first viewing platform, only to leap over the edge and be caught by the waiting crowd below. Foals are a band that put it all on the line to deliver a good show, and they certainly delivered just that. This night will be forever cemented in the memories of those attending.