Photos & Notes: Foals @ the Troubadour, May 24, 2008
Oxford UK band Foals played their first L.A. show at the Troubadour on Saturday. I arrived at the sold out show about an hour before the opener and already a healthy crowd had formed at the front of the stage. It’s only two months since the release of their debut album Antidotes but the buzz surrounding the five-piece was definitely strong. As the group takes the stage the first thing that strikes you is their formation. Lead singer and guitarist Yannis Philippakis and bassist Walter Gervers stand on the left while guitarist Jimmy Smith and keyboardist Edwin Congreave stand opposite. It’s as if they were facing off against each other and the drummer (and female heartthrob) Jack Bevan marked the line of scrimmage. Maybe it was this unusual formation plus the weight of Yannis & Jimmy’s amps at the front of the stage that created a perfect harmonic frequency, as the stage fluctuated from noticeably bouncey to absolutely pounding throughout the night. Whatever the cause, it helped spread the dance atmosphere into the audience. As far as the music goes, other than the inference from the title of early single “Mathletics” and some of the guitarwork, their songs do not fit neatly into the math rock genre. Sure much of the guitars are constant repeating attacks of staccato lines, and, yes, those same guitars are cradled high above the waist, but vocals, which are often repeating as well, play a very prominent role. Also, there are several slower paced songs on the album with what sounds like eighties-reminiscent new wave vocals. However, you want to describe their music the show was energetic and fun with a good balance between serious music experimentation and dance party abandon.