Photographs by Janine Van Oostrom.
When I was growing up I always heard adults around me muttering about how rock and roll was dead. They cringed everytime Britney Spears was played on the radio (this was the 90’s mind you) and bitterly ranted about the good ol days. It is no lie that the age of big rock music is on a decline and is being overtaken by solo pop stars and EDM duos; Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber have taken over the stadiums from bands like AC/DC and the Rolling Stones. It even appears that festivals seem to be reusing the same old headlining acts like Radiohead and the Chili Peppers, because when it comes down to it nostalgia pays. But does all of this mean that rock is dead and gone? Well anyone who has ever seen Foals live would disagree with you.
Straight off of headlining Reading and Leeds Foals appear to be at the top of their game; their previous release What Went Down was a major success in charts all over the world and they are getting more and more recognition by the day. So what sets them apart from everybody else; well all you have to do is spend roughly 5 minutes in one of their concerts to understand. Their live show is fueled by a raw passion and energy that is captivating in every way possible. From the way that lead singer Yannis Philippakis holds the crowd in his intense manner to the deep rooted extreme musical talent that is present in every member of the band. I mean it’s rare to be captivated by a bass player but Walter Gervers is really just that good; also you can’t forget to mention that Drummer Jack Bevan and Guitarist Jimmy Smith are easily masters of their trades.
Foals are known for their masterfully crafted songs and their setlist was a perfect mix of everything wonderful they have ever done. It was composed mainly of older songs like “Olympic Airways”, “Spanish Sahara” and “Red Socks Pugie”, but they did play a few of their newer big hits like “Mountain At My Gates” and “What Went Down”. I couldn’t help but feel like their setlist almost belonged more on a farewell tour and some of their newer songs would have been very welcome additions; yet with that being said it did not take away from the show at all.
Foals have become infamous for their live gigs and after watching one you can undoubtedly see why. It is a well known fact that it isn’t a Foals show with Philippakis crowd surfing, attempting to jump off of a balcony, or more than a few fans being lifted within the crowd themselves. Foals bring out the very best in live music, a shared sense of explosive energy and that feeling that anything can happen. They remind us why live music is so important and on top of it all, they remind us that as long as bands like them are around rock and roll will never die.