I never truly considered myself a massive Foals fan. But I do now. There was something utterly magical about that gig that transformed me into a diehard Foals fanatic. The formula: a sold out night + the illustrious Tivoli theatre + one of the hottest groups out of the UK to hit the indie music scene on the head = the most electrifying gig I’ve attended.
Gigging alone is a common occurrence in my life whereby my friends continue to make up lame excuses not to see bands. “Oh, I’ve run out of money,” “Oh, I’ve been called for jury duty, “Oh, Dave Grohl has summoned me to play at his birthday party.” Although the night was a solo venture, it did not hinder my experience. The atmosphere was purely electric as dedicated Foals-heads strolled through the Tivoli’s grand doors and filled the dance floor, ready to be amazed. What was most sticking to me was the number of hipsters on the floor. Black-rimmed glasses, collared shirts with the top button done up and rolled jeans as far as the eye could see. Alpine were the support act and really brought the dance vibes early. Alpine played at this year’s Splendour in the Grass: an act I danced to until my feet were bruised (coming a close second to the Polyphonic Spree’s rendition of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. You haven’t danced until you’ve danced to the Time Warp performed by Tim DeLaughter and his 8-piece choir). Yet unfortunately the crowd wasn’t warming to Alpine’s charming brand of indie pop. Lead singers Phoebe and Lou brought their best moves to the table, but the crowd weren’t bitting. Even if the Brisbane audience didn’t take notice of Alpine, they still played an enjoyable and catchy set, delivering some of their favourites such as Hands and Gasoline, and got me nice and warmed up for Foals to take the stage.
The Tivoli was buzzing, the time felt right and we had waited long enough, it was time for the Oxford lads to hit the stage on what was the final night of their Australian tour. The house lights went down and we were invaded by seizure-inducing lights from the front of the room. Front man Yannis Philippakis is spotted and the crowd erupts. They opened with the appropriately titled Prologue, which immediately got the heart pumping. It’s been quite some time since I felt such pulsing energy from an audience and Foals never gave us a break, cranking out hit after hit. Olympic Airwaves and My Number gave the band a chance warm up their guitars, their voices and their perspiration levels. With a set more heavily focussed on newer material from 2013’s incredible Holy Fire records, Foals were still eager to crack out older classics such as Total Life Forever’s Blue Blood and Red Socks Pugie from their debut in 2008. They even treated us Brisbanites to a special performance of Hummer, a non-album single released before Antidotes and the first to feature Yannis on lead vocals (replacing Andrew Mears).
Just when you thought Foals were growing weary of the Brisbane heat, Yannis surprised the crowd by diving off the Tivoli’s balcony, not once but twice! Firstly, during Electric Bloom, Yannis was welcomed with warm hearts up on the balcony as he prepared to dive into the hands of electrified punters. The remaining Foals members continued to provide the math-rock jams as daring Yannis jumped the balcony, safely landed into the crowd and surfed back to stage, ready to conclude the epic ending to Electric Bloom. Yet Yannis had it in him once again! Two Steps, Twice was the final encore piece and another which Yannis chose to daringly embrace his fans. This time he chose the other side of the balcony, yet decided to, rather than jump, lightly place himself on the tens of hands waiting to be stepped on. Yannis looked like a true rock legend, standing on the hands of his Australian fans and playing the riffs to Two Steps, Twice. Although he was only standing for 10 or so seconds (who knew hipsters didn’t have upper body strength?) Yannis has entered my book, and I’m sure many others’, of rock heroes.
As the Foals lads said their goodbyes and left the stage, I was truly saddened to see them leave. The crowd acted as one that night and the continuing energy levels kept me buzzing on the train ride home. Foals may have released one of the hottest records of this year, but they also played one of the hottest (literally) shows in Australia.