Firstly, a few words about support band Last Dinosaurs. Strokesalike, teenagers, disco-beats, downstrumming, dreamboats and indie-pop… that more or less sums it up. It wasn’t exactly groundbreaking stuff. The band did do what they did well though, speaking straight to their target demographic (presumably Kooks fans). Highlights were definitely between song banter like “this song is about grandmas, who doesn’t like grandmas”? Watch out Dalai Lama.
If Last Dinosaurs were on the pre-teen segment of the Indie colour-wheel, Foals were a strong shade of rock. Yes, there were angular guitars and yes, there were cuffed jeans and boat shoes. But also there was a heaving moshpit of a few hundred, a stage dive and death defying stunts. For the final encore, frontman Yannis Philippakis disappeared to the side of stage, only to emerge on the staircase above. After fighting off/talking down security, he proceeded to mount the railing, climb down and jump off a stack of speakers three times his own (admittedly diminutive) height. Probably rehearsed, but fucking awesome nonetheless.
It wasn’t all theatrics however. I’m a pretty cynical guy, and tend to shy away from horoscopes, crystals etc. That said, I’m pretty sure Foals were all drummers in previous lives. This is a band that take frantic to a new level, but pull it off with unbelievable precision. Songs like Balloons, The French Open and Cassius sent the throng of moshers into a complete math-rock, dance-punk frenzy. The aggressive funk groove of second album single Miami had hands firmly in the air, while the extended instrumental of Electric Bloom showcased the band’s ability to pretty much crank, even if the sudden appearance of a front of stage floor tom was a fairly clichéd move.
Unfortunately I was not one of those lucky enough to attend Laneway, but was informed (while we waited through about four false alarms – can’t people tell the difference between a roadie and a member of the band?) that slowburner Spanish Sahara would be a particularly special moment in the set. Apparently the rest of the Palace theatre also got the memo – the song began and the screens of at least a hundred phones lit up across the floor. It actually was the highlight of the set though. As the stage lights went down, and a massive FOALS logo was illuminated across the back of the stage, it was obvious that this is a band that has stadiums clearly in their sights.
– Josh Hardy
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