Photographs by Sarah Rix.
While it seemed some fans were not pleased that Foals were headlining over Cage The Elephant at the Kool Haus, which was ok because those who stayed to see these Brit’s play got a riveting show.
When the show was starting they had some super epic music playing, what sounded like it was from a heist film score. This went on for a few minutes and when guitarist Jimmy Smith came out to play the solo intro to Prelude, the opener off their latest release Holy Fire, the crowd went nuts. The rest off the band joined Smith for the lyric-less song, which had hovering synths like a UFO ship was about to take over the venue. After the wild opening singer/guitarist Yannis Philippakis exclaimed, “It’s fucking great to be back! Let’s do this!” before breaking into Total Life Forever.
The band’s post-punk/math-rock styles were awe inspiring to watch. Smith never seemed to stop dancing the whole show, while Philippakis has a great front man persona. It’s not that doesn’t look genuinely happy to be playing but he has an edge to him that makes him seem agitated for the better. When Inhaler came on, the great musicianship was on full display. Plenty of finger plucking chords made for a sexy vibe. It is always noted how drummers and bass players should have a special relationship since they form the rhythm section of a band. This was especially true for drummer Jack Bevan and bassist Walter Gervers. Gervers had his mic stand placed in the back, right next to the drum kit. He would often play on Bevan’s riser when he wasn’t singing, like they were literally tied to the same wavelength to ensure the beat stayed on track.
With Philippakis’ thick accent, I don’t think people had ever been so flattered for being called nasty for cheering them on so loud. Milk & Black Spiders had an almost 90’s era club breakdown which got everyone’s hips moving to the sensual sounds. The Kool Haus always seems to be a million degrees, I’m not sure if it’s just because having so many people in one space overrides and ventilation and AC the place has, but Philippakis kept the front rows cooled down by spraying his water bottles over them before drenching his own head.
Providence had Philippakis throw himself into the crowd and while he was being passed around he maintained his guitar playing which was a feat to witness. This is clearly a move he has perfected as I imagine the plenty of ladies in the crowd tried to get a little too hands-y while he was above them. The night neared its conclusion with Spanish Sahara the standout from their second album Total Life Forever. Philippakis said it was a song dedicated to his mother who was celebrating her 70th birthday that same day. The sound of waves crashing was the dominant sound for most of the track. This was when all the lighters came out to sway in the air.
The show was a descent into madness as each song was more intense and epic than the one preceding it. This was the type of concert that was great to watch and with such talented performers you could imagine getting the same feeling if not more so by standing in front of the stage with your eyes closed the whole time. Foals music is a journey and they will grab you by the collar and lead you, whether you want to go or not.