On the one year anniversary of ‘Holy Fire’, I headed to the O2 Academy in Birmingham to see one of the most iconic live bands working at the moment, Foals. Preceeded by American rock outfit Cage the Elephant, a superb match in terms of music stylings and pure energy, Matt Shultz and co performed a turbulent set which included crowd surfing, screaming and partial nudity.
Having seen Foals aggressively headline The Institute last year, I thought it was a great idea to drag my petite size six housemate into the centre of an anticipating crowd (yes I had been drinking). This was a mistake/best idea as the band entered and the crowd erupted in cheers and surged towards the stage, as the moody chords of ‘Prelude’ began you could tell the audience had been eagerly waiting for the return of this band and as they kicked off with one of their most famous and lively tracks ‘Hummer’ chaos broke out entirely. The only description I can give is a mess of thrashing, sweat and lasers which was incredible to be part of, despite losing my favourite jacket in the pandemonium.
The band followed up with foot stomper ‘Olympic Airways’ which evoked aggressive chanting and finger pointing to the sound of ‘RE-A-PPEAR’ and the danceable ‘My Number’ created yet further madness. The band played a relatively short set from a range of albums, all of which were received phenomenally by the crowd, particularly the new punk influenced ‘Providence’ which created mosh pits and yet more sweat. ‘Milk And Black Spiders’ received cheers as if had been a lead single or an old classic whereas in fact it’s simply a track from their incredibly popular new album and the crowd shouted every single word in total unison. The beautiful ‘Spanish Sahara’ secured the largest reaction of the evening as the solitary notes played and the loyal fan base dropped to the floor whilst onlookers looked puzzled as hallucinatory smoke and light danced overhead.
The finale of ‘Inhaler’ was as momentous as you would imagine as Yannis screamed ‘I can’t get enough space’ whilst the crowd jumped, danced and moved to the infectious psychedelic bridge before they disappeared and the lasers settled on the sweat drenched crowd who began chants of ‘Two Steps, Twice’ as they already knew the infamous track would be appearing. The band reopened with ‘The French Open’ before ending with the first track they ever wrote which sent the crowd into pure frenzy which was heightened further as Yannis appeared on the upper balcony, ready to dive before a security guard grabbed his waist and spoiled the evening, dick. Despite the black eye and burning feet, they have made stake for my favourite live gig of 2014, everyone else now has serious competition.
Once again Foals did not disappoint, I would like to see more tracks from ‘Holy Fire’ included in the set lists but I’m sure this tour will return in arena venues the next time. It’s also worth mentioning Foals will be headlining this year’s Bestival, so get tickets as they are assured to improve on perfection for their prestigious slot. http://www.ticketline.co.uk/bestival-tickets#tour