Live Review

Foals, Royal Albert Hall, London

The mathletes are resurrected from 2008 and seriously show the venue who’s in charge.

When ‘Antidotes’ was released back in 2008, it was established that Foals had potential, but to play two shows in one day at one of the most prestigious venues in the world five years later? Few could have predicted that. Did we all think that when Yannis Philippakis was dancing like a cyborg having a stroke in the ‘Hummer’ video or surrounded by chunks of meat on string during ‘Cassius’ that he’d be soon lavishing in a devoted crowd-surf at a sold out Royal Albert Hall? Possibly not.

Outside the venue are young teenagers meddling in litres of Sainsbury’s own-brand cider, the plastic bottles hand-dented from the grip of their adolescence. The unrefined and dirty taste of that warm, acidic drink blistering their innocent taste buds is the only fitting drink to accompany ‘Antidotes’. Whereas inside, young professionals drenched in three piece suits and a power trip are soaked with Moët & Chandon’s Rosé: a bottle of alcohol almost three times more expensive than the actual ticket.

Surrounded by a military force of production crew, cameras and a spotlight, guitarist Jimmy Smith begins to play the opening bars to ‘Prelude’, the first track from recently-released Holy Fire. A split personality of an opening contained in vicious amounts of smoke, ‘Prelude’ is intelligent in its movement from restrainment to sheer explosivity. As ‘Olympic Airways’ weaves its way through the crevasses of the momentous building, every syllable of ‘DIS-A-PPE-AR’ is accompanied by a vicious and repetitive point to Yannis, a faultless frontman.

Third record favourites ‘My Number’ and ‘Providence’ hold their own against the more solemn and sincere maturity of ‘Blue Blood’ and a spectacularly lit ‘Spanish Sahara’. It isn’t until Yannis exclaims “Right, let’s make the fucking walls shake” going into a weighty set list of ‘Providence’, ‘Electric Boom’ and encore songs ‘Inhaler’ and ‘Two Steps, Twice’ that Foals are fully resuscitated. The mathletes are resurrected from 2008 and from that point seriously show the venue who’s in charge. That, and Yannis doing a victory lap of the Royal Albert Hall ensures that what could have been a very odd experience is pulled back by a truly memorable British band.

Tags: Foals, Features

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