Foals Live Review at Soul Cellar, Southampton

December 13, 2012 6:00 pm

Foals are back. The music scene has been eagerly awaiting their return ever since they undertook their indefinite hiatus of gigs in order to create new record ‘Holy Fire’, which is set for release in February of next year. When they announced this warm-up tour of small venues across the country it was met with great relief; recent years has seen the diminution of innovative and original guitar based bands emerging but, unequivocally, Foals are one of the few we see in today’s music scene. After exploding on to the scene with math-rock album ‘Antidotes’, Foals went on to record one of the best British albums of the twenty first century in Total Life Forever. Swapping the jagged guitar lines and rhythms to create more power and emotion, each song seeming to create its own melodic, dream filled landscape. This cemented the place of Foals as one of the true powerhouses in contemporary British rock. Luckily, I was one of the few who managed to get a ticket to witness this musical force at the Soul Cellar in Southampton.Foals

It is humbling to see a band of this status not waiting for the release of their new record to fill out the larger venues of the country. Having their roots lie in playing house parties, it is nice to see they still understand the power that an intimate gig can have on not just the audience, but also the band’s performance. From their opening jam, simply entitled ‘Pavlov’, it was evident that this had not been a tedious tour for the Oxford outfit as they created a live energy that few bands seem to have the ability to in the modern day. The exponential growth of energy didn’t allow for anyone in the packed out room to stop and take a breath as they tore through a series of songs from ‘Total Life Forever’, taking the breakdown from the title track and turning it into a monstrous jam which seemed to create so much excitement in lead singer Yannis Phillipakis that, whilst playing guitar, he decided to take a stroll along the barrier at the front of the stage before diving head first into the pit of sweat that was the audience. The harmonic riff of ‘Olympic Airways’ sent a roar through the crowd and it felt as if the entire room was about to burst through the floor and end up in the bar downstairs.The band knows the value of an intimate gig

One of the most surprising moments of the night new track ‘My Number’, having only been debuted this on Jools Holland a matter of weeks ago, it seemed as if the majority of the audience new every word; it certainly got everyone dancing more than any other track. This definitely shows promise for the new record as it emits a galloping funk groove whilst maintaining the melodic depths they attained on ‘Total Life Forever’. Inevitably, ‘Spanish Sahara’ also garnered hysteria as this seems to have become one of the songs of this century. The irrevocable atmosphere, and sweat, created from this energetic set didn’t diminish an infinitesimal amount as everyone awaited their return for the encore. Opening with new track ‘Inhaler’ this engendered an inordinate amount of pushing from the crowd as the bordering-on-metal chorus threatened to explode the amps. The set ended on an elongated ‘Two Steps, Twice’ and Yannis took one more dive into the crowd before the band signed off for the evening. This gig has shown that by the time they reach their tour in March, they are going to be a force to be reckoned with and will inevitably be one of the top bands of 2013.

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