Foals are Scary Good at Saints and Sinners Ball
The theme was “Saints and Sinners” which perfectly suited the moment that English Indie rock band, Foals, took the stage with their devious and deviant sound juxtaposed against the billowing canopy set aglow with white lights.
Hosted by 105.7 at Piedmont Park’s Park Tavern, the annual Halloween themed costume party felt like a wedding reception at first, that is if all of the guest were dressed in a range of gorgeous to ghoulish costumes, and you just so happen to book a band that would outshine everything that happened before the reception (the bride who?).
The band, comprised of lead vocalist and guitarist Yannis Philippakis, drummer Jack Bevan, guitarist Jimmy Smith, bassist Walter Gervers and keyboardist Edwin Congreave are currently touring their fourth album What Went Down and are bringing their heavy guitar riffs, piercing vocals, and funk meets arena rock to stages across the US.
Despite their radio play worthy "chill" indie chops, seen live they’re the rock band your mother warned you about. They raise hell as the brits would say, “properly,” with songs that are not void of lyrical depth, but that you could feel instead of read if you’d like.
Highlights from the set include (but were definitely not limited to), "Snake Oil," a heavy song that doesn't leave you wanting due to its big riffs, "Mountain at My Gates," a song that starts out slow before breaking into an urging and boisterous bridge, and "Inhaler," a song from their third album Holy Fire that includes a sudden drop after a slow build against distorted guitar playing.
The encore starts with “What Went Down” a song that is not for the faint of heart, especially played live. The guitar riffs set against the straight to the head punchy lyrics, half sang half sung by Yannis Philippakis, “I buried my heart in a hole in the ground/ With the lights and the roses and the cowards downtown.”
It’s the kind of song that takes you for a ride them drops you off dazed and happy when you’re finished. The chorus is even more demanding of attention than the versus: “When I see a man, I see a lion/ When I see a man, I see a lion.” The drumming increases, the bass riffs intensify, and the guitar strumming against reverberating voice of Yannis escalates until the song felt like it had reached an ultimate breaking point. This is the moment that Yannis, after making eye contact with the front row as if to warn them to what would happen next, jumped into the audience. It was as if the energy of the song was too much to take, and he needed to share it with the more than happy to oblige crowed beneath him.
The electricity sits in the room long after they've left the stage. Foals haven’t dressed like lions for this masquerade, but based on the way they slayed the crowd, they definitely could have.
Catch Foals on their US tour and view additional dates, here.
Photos by Missy Stowell for Bullet Music