Friday 1st March 2013 – Academy, Dublin
On the second show of a whistle stop tour of Ireland…Foals simply tore the place apart. Playing two sold out nights in Dublin’s The Academy, the band took to the stage Friday evening to serve us with the gift of their new album, ‘Holy Fire’. In the two or so weeks since the album itself has been released, the band have been relentlessly showcasing it to the world. And this particular gig was something quite special. On stage just after the nine or so there was an unmistakable buzz about the mezzanine. The tickets for the gig had been like gold dust and the attendees carried themselves with a well deserved and self assured smugness of being able to capture tickets.
Taking to the stage under much anticipation they opened with ‘Prelude’ and delved straight into a medley of tracks from two previous albums, ‘Olympic Airwaves’ and ‘Total Life Forever’. It wasn’t until about six songs in, beginning with ‘Balloons’ that the idea of what the concert should be, drastically changed. The vibrancy of the crowd, the lighting all worked together so well, it was almost like being at a dance club. Their recent single ‘My Number’ is a track that got the crowd to speed. Jumping around and hugging. It was obvious in these moments that the band really fed off the energy of the crowd. Their zeal could not be contained, when the crowd were going for it, so were they.
Foals have in ‘Late Night,’ a wonderfully produced third single. A tour de force in itself, it’s crawling beginning just hit the crowd at the right time after the dance vibe given off from the previous few songs. It is a wonderfully mature output from the band. A signature live song that just shows how much they have really explored their sound since the first album. A song completely stripped back to basics, it just carries you, almost like a building wave to unleash a wonderful storm like finish. A willingness to play it in full, live gave an opportunity to showcase their talents as musicians. To an almost silent but attentive crowd. The respect shown to Foals in their quieter moments after a rush like that was something I was really glad to see. A real personal highlight of the night.
In one of the most spectacular things to have witnessed at a gig, what went on during ‘Spanish Sahara’ was enough to leave me completely speechless. Within the first 30 seconds of the intro…the ground floor standing crowd immediately became the ground floor seating…every member of the audience were on their hunkers/sitting down for the duration of the build up…until the instrumental break at four minutes in. They rose like reborn phoenix into the air to dance to the remainder of the song as it melded into the last song of the set, ‘Red Socks Pugie’.
After a two minute absence, they returned back to their gallows, ready to sacrifice themselves for a three song encore that would literally tear the crowd apart. Beginning with ‘Moon’ Yannis and co explored the venue. Not figuratively speaking, but literally. During an guitar and drum fuelled break Yannis took it upon himself to climb up into the rafters to walk around the upstairs of the venue., Followed by a single spot light, he triumphantly sauntered his way through the crowd, confidently chugging beers as he wandered around the half moon shaped gallery. One would expect that eyes from the floor would have followed the energetic front-man around, however such was the atmosphere, they were too busy getting down and dirty with the music the remaining musicians were providing from the stage. Finishing off with a battering rendition of ‘Inhaler’ and ‘Two Steps, Thrice’. Crowd surfing, moshing, beer being spilled, long hair being thrashed…the battered crowd were left sweating, shirtless, shoeless and everyone with a smile on their face.
A performance from a band that will certainly be hard to remove from the recesses for some time. Never have I been taken on a journey where I could have been in an underground industrial rave in mid 90s Germany and four minutes later at a wellness centre being calmed down. The craftsmanship and complete unity they displayed in the live experience show that three albums in Foals have matured into one of the finest live acts the UK have to offer.