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Earlier | Later

On Monday April 11 was a show I'd been anticipating for months: the return of Foals to Seattle, playing at the Showbox at the Market with Freelance Whales and the Naked and Famous

The Naked and Famous were a quintet playing synth-heavy rock, with vocals shared between a low and quiet male singer and a loud and clear female singer. No songs in particular leapt out, but their music was pretty solid and enjoyable overall, and the band's youthful looks belied their sophisticated sound. 

Freelance Whales played anthemic grand pop rock, a bit akin to Arcade Fire or Annuals. Like Annuals, several band members also played multiple instruments or switched up on occasion. They met the "oh, these guys" test as I recognized one song, and another sounded like a cover to me, a Sufjan Stevens type of song perhaps. I'll admit I wasn't paying close attention during their set, but it was good enough to make me acknowledge I should've paid more attention.

I missed out on seeing Foals last October because of the car crash, so I'd been very excited that they were already coming back to town. However, they did not start out as exciting as I'd hoped. The main part of the set of course was heavier on songs from last year's release Total Life Forever, which is rounder and deeper in style than their angular, energetic first album Antidotes. The newer songs tended to have a more languid feel, a slower build toward intensity that rolled over the audience like deep ocean waves. Although there's no doubting the power of the new songs such as "Spanish Sahara" or "Black Gold", it was good to hear "Olympic Airways" from the first album in the midst of the set. Foals finally kicked things up a notch for the end of the main set, bringing out a tom for lead singer Yannis Philippakis  to play during "Electric Bloom", and he jumped into crowd to surf a bit. The audience by this point was perhaps a bit antsy, chanting for "Cassius" both before and after the first encore song; as the second round of chanting started, Philippakis immediately cut them off with a curt "it ain't happening." But although "Cassius" would've been nice, it was hardly necessary: the slow build had reached its climax, and Foals rocked hard through "The French Open" and the show-closer "Two Steps, Twice". In the latter, they drew out the bridge to great length and effect while Philippakis climbed a speaker stack so as to jump down dramatically into the final verse. It was an amazing conclusion to a set that in the end brought the excitement I'd hoped for, and I was so glad I'd finally seen Foals.

The Showbox at the Market is not kind to my iPhone camera; unless I'm right up against the stage, I can't really get any worthwhile photos. So I have just five shots from the show, two each of the openers and just one at a distance of Foals, but if you like you can see them in my set on Flickr.


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The List: June 2011

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