Live Report: Foals - Alexandra Palace, London

Live Report: Foals - Alexandra Palace, London

Without doubt one of the finest live experiences in the land...

More often than not at gigs it can take a few songs before the crowd is sufficiently warmed up, but walking in during the initial few moments of Foals’ Ally Pally set, you could easily mistake it as having been halfway through the show.

It was only three songs in as ‘Snake Oil’ began and the chorus riff ripped through the crowd. It felt almost a little too early to be unleashing such a momentous anthem, leaving a slight fear of the performance peaking prematurely before it had fully blasted off – thankfully this was not the case.

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The carefully curated setlist spanning the entirety of their records ensured that no man was left behind as everyone jumped, swayed and furiously nodded along to the music. The balance between hard hitting tunes, danceable indie pop trances and the more melodic numbers counteracted any burnout from the more overactive audience members.

Foals hit an explosive point with ‘Inhaler’ as Yannis demanded fans drop to their knees during an extended instrumental build up. As the climax became too much for some who sporadically stood up, much to Yannis’ dismay, the frontman zealously approved as others patiently waited to be detonated at the cusp of the rampageous chorus.

A welcomed surprise came as the encore commenced with a new song from the unreleased second part to ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Pt 1’. The small taste of what is to come was more than enough to whet fans appetites as they rabidly await the upcoming album – which, if this track is anything to go by, will be in the realms of their heavier, slightly metal imbued numbers.

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At the apex of the show, the band broke out ‘What Went Down’ where Yannis entered the crowd and mounted a sea of adoring hands. He screamed the famed chorus in classic Philippakis style, passionately shaking his fists at a fan who was lifted on another’s shoulders, and mirrored the singer's every move.

Finishing on the fan favourite ‘Two Steps, Twice’, Jack Bevans deserted his drumming duties to lead the room at the front of the stage, crossing his drum sticks and passing them into the audience.

Meanwhile, Yannis once again abandoned his post to revel in the fans’ endless adoration for him. Streamers shot through the air at the zenith of the time-honoured tune and the audience shrieked in delight. Ramping down and fading into the abyss, the music ended and ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost’ flashed on the screens as the band left the stage.

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Foals may arguably be one of the best live bands around, exceeding levels many indie bands fail to meet, as they deliver a performance unlike anything else out there. Yannis Philippakis had fans chomping at the bit for more as he fed them with Foals’ finest hits from all corners of their venerable repertoire.

The staging aided in creating an impressively immersive show with the tactfully draped palm branches, screens presenting kaleidoscopically flowing graphics and Bevans elevated with his drum kit behind the rest of the band - delivering explosive beats which penetrated the atmosphere and fuelled the perpetual pits that formed and rippled around the venue.

The Oxford foursome have had years to perfect their performance and continue to bring the chaotic energy of the small visceral gigs played in their infancy as a band, to the grandiose proportions of the infamous Ally Pally. In the end, whatever your opinion may be of these four men, nobody does it quite like they do.

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Words: Yasmin Cowan
Photography: Eleonora C. Collini

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