More than a one-hit wonder
Foster the People - Live at Shepherds Bush Empire, London

Foster the People have appeared on our shores pretty quickly for a band that have only been together for two years. After releasing their debut single ‘Pumped up Kicks’ they rose to fame with endless plays on Radio One and enough advert backgrounds to last a life time.

For some people they could be seen as one-hit wonders, but their debut album released in May this year showed everyone that they could create upbeat songs that are just as catchy and brilliant as their first single. Tickets sales proved this after the band had to announce a third date at Shepherds Bush Empire due to phenomenal demand.

The crowds outside the venue are huge, stretching back around the corner of the Empire. A couple of hours later and everyone downstairs is rammed together waiting for Foster the People to deliver the goods.

And they do with a degree of ferocity and nerdy dancing that is highly loveable. Mark Foster is the king of cool, strutting onstage with a cowbell and then hopping over to take his place on the keyboard for ‘Houdini’.

At one point Mark Foster turns to the crowd to tell us all about the joys of music and how we should love each other. There’s always been something rather “free love” about this band and it’s rather easy to forget you’re in London and get transported to San Francisco back in the days of hippies and love.

‘Miss You’ allows the drums and synths to take over and it becomes more of a dance track with bright strobe lights filling up Shepherds Bush Empire. It suddenly feels like more of a rave than a gig with everyone downstairs stamping their feet and swaying to the music.

Mark is a funny individual to watch. It’s like he’s been practising these moves for years in his bedroom as a kid, suddenly he’s up on stage, exactly where he wants to be. It’s actually adorable to watch. The rest of the band let him take centre stage and at one point he makes the swift decision to crowd surf with all the young kids trying to grab hold of him.

The night draws to and end and it’s time for the one song that brought the band into the limelight. Mark doesn’t even really need to sing the words as the Empire lights up, the crowd singing and fist pumping the air. But it gets better. The song breaks into a dance track version and for the next three minutes the whole of the downstairs area is a sweaty dance floor full of fans jumping up and down, whooping and cheering and whooping.

Giving a wave and a grin to the adoring crowd, the band walk off the stage. Tonight they’ve proven that they’re more than just a one-hit wonder. It will be a while until Foster the People are back, but we can be left knowing that when they do return we’ll be treated to more great tunes and an excellent live show.

Words and photos by Sophie Williams

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