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The Foals are an indie-rock five piece band from Oxford who formed in 2005. Their building popularity and evolution has seen them grow from strength to strength though I would still argue their second album ‘Total Life Forever’ is better than their latest offering. Touring in the UK with their third almost number one album, ‘Holy Fire’ (beat by Les Miserables, I was interested and super excited to see this band play at Manchester Academy having never actually seen them live before.
Having fallen in love with them in my ‘Oh so indie’ teenage years and knowing every word to ‘Cassius’, their new sound is reflective of an older, male heavy audience. Though this is the case,there are still the usual manic, teenage girls screaming their undying love for front man Yannis Phillippakis ’til they look like they will spontaneously combust! Their set is energetic, thumping and verging on heavy metal- not what you’d expect from a band I used to put into the same play list as The Kooks and The Mystery Jets- but trust me, all of this was positive.
The crowd could not be satiated and Yannis, charismatic as ever, even though he’s surprisingly small of stature, really knows how to take it in his stride. He truly rallied the crowd up into an absolute frenzy only helped a little by the use of a complex laser show. At one point he towered over the screaming crowd on top of his amps and speakers and I honestly feared for my life in the pit. Thankfully he didn’t jump from that great height (much to the rest of the crowd’s disappointment) but treated the crowd to a running jump with his guitar.
Their support act The Invisibles, left a lot to be desired and calling them lack lustre is me taking pity. They are what I can only describe as a penniless man’s Bloc Party causing me to suppress a yawn more than once. It was a warm down if anything and would make good background, chill out music at a push.
After warming the crowd up, Yannis, Walter, Jack, Jimmy, Edwin and Andrew opened the set with songs from their new album as well as some older classics from the second. The poppy offering of ‘My Number’ was met well while their slow classic ‘Spanish Sahara’ left the crowd spellbound and singing every word. ‘Inhaler’, a song from their latest album was arguably the best slowly building up till the beat dropped then everything went wild working the crowd even more.
Manchester Academy isn’t the smallest of venues, but it was packed out with prepubescents, twenty somethings, loads of guys and more middle aged couples than you’d expect. The atmosphere, like much of the new album’s material, was electric and thoroughly enjoying the bands emphasis on guitar love. Yannis had the crowd under his trance like spell kept in beat by the heavy, heavy drumming. His final encore with its repetitive chord left his crowd more than happy and repeating the same tune long after they had collected their coats, discarded their pint cups, undone their top shirt button and gone home.