Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Foals at the 7th St. Entry(Minneapolis)

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Oxford, England’s Foals put on a spirited and energetic show at the 7th Street Entry last evening in front of a crowd where it seemed half were there to dance, the other half to see if the much-hyped young band could live up to the buzz. And right from the start, it seemed the band were checking the audience to see how involved they were going to get, with lead singer Yannis Philippakis pogoing around in the crowd before the bands first song took shape. The Foals music isn’t breaking any new ground, it’s a healthy mix of danceable post-punk and the tightly wound math-rock favored by Battles and, to a lesser extent, Bloc Party. Whatever you want to call it, if you give yourself up to the frantic beats and agitated guitar riffs, you are bound to move something. And I think the band feeds off of that energy, creating a bond with the audience by becoming part of them, with the lead singer prowling around the upper bar area of the Entry, still trying to engage the audience with his pogoing (and, spilling some of my beer at the same time, which he took the time to apologize for) and the guitarist spending what seemed to be an entire song in the audience, flailing away at his instrument in the midst of an energetic and receptive bunch of kids.
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The band also drew laughs from the crowd by describing their radio session that afternoon at The Current. Remarking that they fully expected to encounter middle American accents, it was a shock to their ears to encounter Mark Wheat, who they claimed, “Obviously has been living in America for quite a while, but is holding tight to his English accent.” For those familiar with Mark, that remark drew a lot of laughs. It did seem that the band was able to get their feet under them after a rather tenuous start, and built the energy of the room up to a point where it matched the bands. And from that point on, the band really hit their stride, tearing through ‘Olympic Airways,’ ‘Balloons,’ and a rousing version of ‘Red Sock Pugie’ that even got me bouncing. Final encore track ‘Electric Bloom,’ which featured Yannis frantically beating a drum along with the beat, was definitely a high point of the set for me, with the lyrical call to arms of ‘This Is A Warning Shot’ setting the stage for a groove that the band really locked in to and never lost during the energetic closer.

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For being so young, Foals really were locked in tight all show, and it was obvious that even though they are a new band, they have played the hell out of these songs night after night, and they are quite a polished and exuberant live act. Some of their songs do sound alike, and they certainly wear their late 80’s New Romantic influences proudly, but for a young band touring the States for the first time, Foals got the Entry crowd moving and certainly laid the groundwork for a promising career. I am curious what direction they take their sound on the next record, because their familiar sound has a tendency to sound a touch repetitive, and they need to explore different avenues of sound to keep people’s attention next time. But for last night, these feisty Oxford lads brought enough original sounds and enthusiasm to keep a Monday night Entry crowd highly entertained, and me curious as to what they will do next.

Erik T.

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