Live Review

Foals, Alexandra Palace, London

It’s when they cut loose that they sound most like they’re meant for the top table of rock.

If, with ‘Holy Fire’, Foals were aiming for stadium-sized success, then tonight’s second sold out show at Alexandra Palace seems to more than justify their ambition. This is a huge show in every way: a monstrous sound with effects pedal sonics bouncing off the antique walls of Alexandra Palace and echoing around a worshipping crowd.

It’s fascinating to see how Foals have grown, from the itchy jittery rock of their debut, they’ve grown muscle and tonight their sound fills every inch of the venue. It’s also an extremely slick show (perhaps too slick at times), and there’s a light show that appears to have cost the GDP of a small Eastern European country.

They begin with the now customary ‘Prelude’. Lights dazzle and it builds and throbs. It’s the tightest they’ve ever been. Then there’s a thrilling ‘Total Life Forever’ and they blast and whizz through the infectious bounce of ‘Your Number’. Yet it’s when they cut loose that they sound most like they’re meant for the top table of rock. Yannis bellows ‘Let’s do this’ before an impassioned version of ‘Providence’ and they start to fray at the edges in the best way: still bombastic but at the same time this is primal brilliance. ‘I know I cannot be true / I’m an animal, just like you’ he yells before diving backwards into the crowd.

‘Spanish Sahara’ gets the most vociferous reaction: the juxtaposition of lyrics about a nightmarish and ravaged place and the girls and shirtless men on shoulders, fists pumping and chanting the lyrics back is something to behold. As the track builds and builds the whole room starts to shake.

Yannis proceeds to climb speaker stacks, green and red lights cut through the crowd like lasers and the frontman seems genuinely touched by the fervor of the crowd. “When we played here supporting Bloc Party this place seemed so big because nobody was here,” he recalls. But by the time they end the set with ‘Inhaler’ – its huge, almost U2 chorus, reverberating around the building – the band have the crowd in the palm of their hands.

They encore with Hummer and Two Steps Twice. Yannis surveys the crowd, now baying for more music. ‘You’re fucking nasty,’ he laughs. And it’s prophetic: during Two Steps a nearby man strips naked and stands proudly on his friend’s shoulders. If inducing people to strip naked is in their power, then Foals are primed for even bigger things. For now it’s just fantastic to see a British band grow from Barflys to headlining festivals. If tonight’s show is anything to go by, this summer will belong to Foals.

Tags: Foals, Features

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