Photo by Scott Dudelson/Getty Images
Foals have just announced that they are coming to Australia for the first time since releasing their fifth album Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost - Part 1. On top of some huge headline dates, they are also playing Splendour In The Grass for the first time in five years. We headed along to their New York City show so that we could deliver you an insight into what to expect from their upcoming Aussie dates.
From the moment Foals stepped on-stage for the third night of a short residency at New York City's Brooklyn Steel, it was clear that they were ready to get people dancing. On their last tour, supporting 2015's What Went Down Foals amplified the rock aesthetic, presenting as a band with Foo Fighters-sized ambitions. This time around, they're less intent on that and more concerned with making sure the whole thing is a lot of fun - and it was - right from the minute, the slick, groovy guitars of On The Luna punched in. Frontman Yannis Philippakis, looked refreshingly loose, his funky hips joining in on the fun before anyone else.
On Part 1 of Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost, Foals have embraced an electronic dance side that always sizzled in the background but was never fully embraced. Foals are playing with beats and synths and it adds another dimension to their live show that was a consistent highlight. Kicked off by the unexpected dance break of Sunday, the band turned the venue into a club for a portion of the set. Made up of mostly songs from the new record, the band also incorporated Red Socks Pugie from their debut record, curating a four song-streak of beats and synths. It all came to an end on In Degrees, one of the most electronic things the band have ever produced. Even Foals' biggest rock dog fans were left sweaty, entranced by this new side of the band.
Of course, Foals' arena-sized, rock side remains and makes up for some of the most thrilling moments of the night. Yannis and drummer Jack Bevan are born entertainers. You better believe that when Bevan stands up and cracks his drum sticks that shit is going to get real, and it did on several occasions. They tore through the dark Providence, thrashed around with ENSWBL's heaviest moment White Onions and tore the place to the ground with Inhaler. Yannis promised to "decimate" the venue and they very nearly did.
They never got closer to that than they did with What Went Down. They returned from the encore ready to cause some serious damage, Yannis howling with a stunning intensity. When they tap into their most primal instincts, the band are unstoppable. They bring a ferociousness that's almost impossible to believe they possess when performing quieter moments like Sunday. It's these juxtapositions that make the show wildly entertaining.
We've all sung along to Spanish Sahara at least once in our lives and while that was, yet again, a stunning point of the night, it may have competition for their best singalong song. Foals have never written a song as communal and straight-forward as Sunday and it provided a strong set highlight. The lightly tropical guitars and plodding drum beat provide the backdrop for a near-Oasis singalong, the likes of which we don't see often in Foals' discography. That's not to say no one sung at a Foals show before Sunday but there's something anthemic about singing, "we've got all our friends right here," as Yannis conducts the crowd heartily. Even without the thrilling tempo-shift towards the end, Sunday is a beautiful moment of the show. The fact that it descends into chaos just makes it all the more exciting. It's almost as if Foals are incapable of creating beauty without destroying it and that's absolutely a compliment.
Face-To-Face Interactions With Yannis
Yannis has always been an excellent frontman but he seems to be more comfortable than ever right now. He ebbs and flows between intensity and fluidity, either grooving with his hips of thrashing around atop of a sea of hands. The smile planted on his face whenever he came face-to-face with the crowd showed that he may just be having fun and, as a fan, that always feels good.
Throughout the set, he jumped into the crowd on at least three occasions. He crowd-surfed while playing the guitar and then later returned without the crowd, standing up while security rushed around trying to figure out the logistics of doing this while wielding a corded mic. During the ever-energetic closer, a song they've played at least 500 times, Yannis ran from one side of the venue to the other, flashing smiles at any fan he came into contact with.
Foals are at the top of their game right now and that's because they too believe they are. You may have seen the band many times before but they are more multi-dimensional than ever right now.