Foals are without doubt one of my favourite bands and I had the pleasure of seeing them perform at Alexandra Palace, London on Valentine’s Day in 2013 which, you can read the review of here. Since then, they’ve released their critically acclaimed album, What Went Down which I was really looking forward to hearing live. Friday 19th February gave me the opportunity as myself and a few others traveled to Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena to see the lads in action and I’m now going to tell you “What Went Down”.
Walking confidently on to the stage and blasting straight in to Snake Oil proved the band were here to rock and put on an amazing show which also pricked the ears of everyone in attendance up as there was no easing your way in to the performance. Olympic Airways Is an absolute tune and one of my all-time favourites from the four album discography and it sounds just as perfect live as the record version.
My Number was well received as always and I believe the song that gained the band a legion of new fans. I just hope these new fans went back to listen to some of the older songs to really understand the journey the band has come on to propel themselves in to the foreground of the indie music scene and also mainstream music scene.
Before traveling to Birmingham, I made a playlist on my phone so we could prepare ourselves and “be in the know” of what songs were coming up next (we looked up the setlist from the gig that happened the day before). This proved to be a silly idea as we noted with disappointment that Blue Blood wasn’t on the playlist and this is a great track. Fortunately for us, they decided to treat us to a live performance of this track and everyone appreciated it.
Mountain At My Gates proved to be our first taster of what the new stuff would sound like live. *Spoiler alert* absolutely amazing! As aforementioned, the band established a whole new fan base when My Number was released but I’d have to say the same for many of the songs from the latest album. It seemed like everyone knew the words and this time, it was the band who looked appreciative and humbled by the response they were getting.
You know it’s going to be a good show when lasers, strobe lights and fine-smoke machines get involved and as the lasers struck up, I knew what was coming next as the opening mellow chords of Spanish Sahara began, so did my goosebumps. I absolutely love this song and seeing it live is an experience everyone should experience if they have the chance. The emotion, power and energy was on an all-time high, especially as the song really kicks in. Absolutely fucking amazing.
London Thunder is my favourite track from the latest album and I’m really glad it makes it on to the setlist as the first encore song. It’s a really beautiful indie love ballad and a nice way to allow everyone a bit of a rest from dancing and singing(shouting). In hindsight, this small respite makes sense as everyone was about to lost their voices with the next track…
What Went Down is loud, confident and in your face which makes it a great song to perform live. The band didn’t hold back just as the fans weren’t as Yannis gets involved with the crowds at the front whilst still maintaining to put on a performance. Lucky people, whoever got to tough the indie god.
Two Steps Twice has been the closing track to a Foals gig for some time now and I don’t know how the band manage to perform it after such an energetic gig but they do. Every time. It’s also the song where Yannis will jump in to the crowd from any high place he can climb up to. Unfortunately, there wasn’t one in this venue and I’ve heard reports that management have kindly asked/advised that it’s not the best thing to do in case people don’t catch him and he gets injured. Damn your health & safety regulations!
Overall, this gig was excellent and I’d go and see Foals live again in a heartbeat. I might have to wait some time though as I’m not going to Leeds Festival and there’s reports that the band are now taking a well-deserved break. For how long, they don’t even know but I think I still need a break as I’m still aching. You broke me Foals. But I don’t even mind because you provided the entertainment for such an amazing night (until we hit some dodgy Birmingham clubs).
Words by Robert Smith(@robertmsmith)
Give It All
Mountain at My Gates
Red Socks Pugie
A Knife In the Ocean
What Went Down
Two Steps, Twice