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It’s fair to state that most of my previous gig attending experiences have been relatively limited to the rock / pop-punk / post-hardcore spectrum. I’ve never really considered going to too many indie gigs (how UnSputnik of me), despite liking my fair share of bands that could loosely be categorized as such. Most indie music seems best enjoyed via headphones when in a certain mood, rather than in a live setting… So I’ve always imagined if I did attend such a concert, I’d just be one of Win Butler’s friends standing there with my arms crossed, drinking one beer per song. I’d need something extra to be entertained; a strings or horn section, a crazy front-man or a stage invasion! English band Foals seemed the perfect (pardon the pun) antidote for my situation; a group whose debut LP was filled with catchy & energetic math-rock, and whose follow-up was simply too f*cken fantastic to ignore.

On an extremely humid Thursday night when floods were ruining cities to the north & bushfires were ravaging cities to the west (seriously, our climate is screwed), Mr & Mrs. Boy wandered on over to The Palace Theatre in downtown Melbourne in order to witness the aforementioned Brits. First up however were Brisbane indie-poppers Last Dinosaurs, a quartet who initially did not seem like a good match for such a gig. Having heard all of 4 tracks from the band prior to this night, I had pegged them as more of the Vampire Weekend style of sound. Yet, I was quite taken aback – and pleasantly surprised – by the  degree to which their live show rocked things up. Furthermore, if their set length was any guide, they should not be too far away from releasing their debut LP. Check out highlight single ‘Honolulu’ at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yV8dfyrD64c

Foals did not waste any time getting into their set once they hit the stage, with front-man Yannis Philippakis launching straight into (current single) ‘Blue Blood’ while typically holding his guitar up around his chest. Pleasingly, there were no folded arms to be seen, as the near sold-out audience sang along to every word. In what would be a highlight of most ‘Total Life Forever’ tracks, the song continuously added layer upon layer – instrument upon instrument – as it progressed. Hell, even the relatively straight forward title track seemed intricate & well crafted when played live. Most impressive was how clear everything sounded… Not in a sterile fashion, but in how crisp and sharp both the dual guitar-work & synths pierced the room.

Tracks from their debut LP ‘Antidotes’ were by no means disappointing either, lending the band a different kind of weapon; one which had the crowd moving. The infectious ‘Cassius’ & ‘Balloons’ were both played early, while ‘Red Sox Pugie’ & ‘Electric Bloom’ closed the main set satisfyingly. Not being a huge fan of the latter song, I initially had no idea why it was included on the setlist. However, I soon had my answer when it closed with an extended instrumental jam which saw Yannis literally climb all around the venue (security were not happy chappys). In fact, if there was any criticism I could make of Foals’ live show, it would be that Philippakis is hindered by the requirement to play his instrument for practically the whole night (often lead guitar too).
 
Just before those 2 performances however was the undoubted jewel in the crown; song of 2010 ‘Spanish Sahara’… The closest thing to a religious experience I’ve witnessed at a live show! In fact, how about you all say a prayer or two while watching this:

Initially a concern for this skeptic, the most impressive factor of the night turned out to be the way in which Foals cohesively integrated the new & old into their set… No easy feat when you consider the stylistic difference between their 2 LPs. In a sense, listening to Foals’ songs played in this fashion only further proved their songwriting craft & maturity (I still find it difficult to believe that Philippakis is just 24 years of age!). Wanting to finish the night off in an energetic fashion however, the Oxford quintet dug even deeper into their history for the three track encore. As per usual, ‘The French Open’ and ‘Two Steps Twice’ took their late night position with successful results, however it was the rapid-fire non-album track ‘Hummer’ which drew an even better response. This trio bought to a close what was ultimately a great night that will have this non-believer thinking just a little more seriously about seeing the next indie band that hits town. Quite a fitting sentiment since one of the key lyrics on Total Life Forever’s ‘Black Gold’ is “The future is not what it used to be”.





DaveyBoy
02.24.11
SETLIST

1. Blue Blood
2. Olympic Airways
3. Total Life Forever
4. Cassius
5. Balloons
6. Miami
7. What Remains
8. After Glow
9. 2 Trees
10. Spanish Sahara
11. Red Sox Pugie
12. Electric Bloom

Encore

13. The French Open
14. Hummer
15. Two Steps, Twice

liledman
02.24.11
nice write up dude, sounded like a great night... making me feel kinda bad about not seeing them at laneway though haha.

Piglet
02.24.11
Yet to check these penguins out.

cvlts
02.24.11
glad you had so much fun. indie shows are no-fly-zone for dante

DaveyBoy
02.24.11
Thanks Ryan. Who did you see instead? Was it Deerhunter? Oh well, I'm pretty sure you will have another chance as they love Oz since they've been here twice in 8 months & even recorded some demos for their next album while they were here!

Piglet, the gig was not at Phillip Island mate. No penguins were in attendance at all.

DaveyBoy
02.24.11
Do you have the same issue as what I suggested in the blog Dante? Or do you just not like indie music at all?

Piglet
02.24.11
Disappointed =(

cvlts
02.24.11
indie is awesome, bro. i just always feel cheated from my money if i cant get my headwalk on, if you know what i mean.

liledman
02.24.11
yeah it was deerhunter so i dont really regret it haha. but everybody has good things to say about the show so i guess maybe next time they do a headline ill go.

DaveyBoy
02.24.11
(Davey looks up "headwalk" in the dictionary & comes up confuddled)

I reckon Deerhunter would bore the shit out of me live, but to each their own.

Where's Dougie? I think he saw them at the festival.

liledman
02.24.11
headwalk literally is just walking on heads, instead of crowd surfing the uh, normal way.

deerhunter were amazing man, huge sound. every song sounded better than on the recording.

DaveyBoy
02.24.11
Thought so... Sort of like walking on water. Oh my, Dante is JC.

Better than on the recording huh? Hmmm, that's a good sign for this muzac they call indie.

AliW1993
02.24.11
I feel like I should have seen them by now, all the live footage I've seen of them has been really good. Great write-up.

Fugue
02.24.11
No Black Gold on the set-list? how disappointing. Still, the band rules so hard live, Ali mate, do yourself a favour next time their up in Newcastle yeah?

natey
02.24.11
Deerhunter is amazing live.

Aids
02.24.11
great write up Davey. We need more stuff like this, you guys should have redsky (or someone else I guess) do something similar for GY!BE

AnotherBrick
02.24.11
Nice man. Personally it pisses me off when the crowd claps along like that

Aids
02.24.11
wow I just got around to watching the video of Spanish Sahara. What an incredible performance! And the crowd was really into to it too. I got goosebumps.

Aids
02.24.11
@AnotherBrick - I'd agree if they were off time, which it seems crowds always are. But those aussies had pretty good rhythm

AnotherBrick
02.24.11
meh, even if they are right on with it. I want to hear the music, not people clapping. and i'm sure most bands can keep time themselves

IsItLuck?
02.24.11
Davey, you're not punny

scissorlocked
02.24.11
band is great

duckpride82
02.24.11
"deerhunter were amazing man, huge sound. every song sounded better than on the recording."

Yeah, when I saw Deerhunter they had a much heavier sound than their studio stuff does, and it was great. Plus Bradford Cox is basically the coolest person I have ever seen live.

Knott-
02.24.11
You haven't seen Maybeshewill live, though, so your statement about 'the closest thing to a religious experience' is, well, uninformed :)

DaveyBoy
02.25.11
Thanks Ali. They're definitely worth seeing live.

I'm not surprised they don't play Black Gold Rosco. It's another long song & they wouldn't want to sound too indie... You know, like Deerhunter. ;-)

Thanks Aids. I try to do a write-up on all gigs I go to... Even if it's 2 weeks late. I'll try to do another one next week for Anberlin / The Starting Line / Bayside. And 'SS' is the definition of a goosebumps song.

AnotherBrick, the clapping in that clip was a little all over the place, but at the time, I recall the crowd not being quite sure what to do during the opening moments of 'SS'. I think it was better than a sea of crossed arms.

Ryan, you have purposefully hurt me with that comment. You're off my Christmas Card list.

If Deerhunter heavy up their show, then that would be a plus.

Adam, you haven't see Def Leppard live, so everything about you is uninformed. PS: I don't even know if Maybeshewill have ever been down under.

Knott-
02.25.11
Def Leppard are from SHEFFIELDDDDDDDDDDDDD

DaveyBoy
02.25.11
I knowwwwwwwww. They usually include Untited vs Wednesday banter on stage. To bad, both teams now suck... along with my Saints.

Douglas
02.25.11
I was there. It was amazing. Yannis' crowd dive nearly killed me

InFiction
02.25.11
Shit I wanted to go to this, I just didn't realise it was so soon. Sounded like fun though!

DaveyBoy
02.25.11
Haha. Poor Dougie had to catchy Yannis. Whattaya reckon about my write-up? Similar thoughts from the festival set?

Time flies when you are having fun InFiction. I was actually a little surprised they didn't quite sell out, but then again they did upgrade their venue & had just played the festival.

InFiction
02.25.11
True. I'll have to catch them next time they play.

Douglas
02.25.11
When I say I was there I mean I was at The Palace gig. Greatest venue alive. Chilled in the booths on the second level for Last Dinosaurs, and got right in the Mosh for Foals. Dodgy having such a long wait between bands though don't you reckon. Yeah Yannis foot nearly hit my face, loved it haha. Festival set was as epic, yet obz not as long. Nice write up to man.

DaveyBoy
02.25.11
They'll be back 4 shaw.

Oh, I had no idea Dougie... I thought you only saw them at Laneway. Shit man, you could have worn a Dougie hat & I could have thrown something on you. Sounds like you surveyed as much of The Palace as Yannis. And yeah, the wait in-between was weird, but I expected it since it was ona run-sheet I saw, so it gave us time to make 3 or 4 bar trips in between & a loo stop in between.

liledman
02.25.11
the palace is indeed a fantastic venue dougie

DaveyBoy
02.25.11
Agreed. It's a nice in-between size & you can almost even see decently from the back. Probably would have preferred Foals at say Billboard (slightly smaller venue), but it could have been worse & at Festering Hall, so me no complain.

liledman
02.25.11
yeah i cant stand festival hall.

ive been to a fair few gigs at billboard and its a great size, saw dillinger play there last year and it was awesome.

DaveyBoy
02.25.11
F**k, Dillinger gave me whiplash 2 years ago at Soundwave. They would have knocked me unconscious for a week at Billboard.

liledman
02.25.11
haha it was a bit like that. the guitarist was standing on the barrier at one point right in front of me and he fell down and smashed my hand with his guitar, fucking hurt so much, but it was a great show.

DaveyBoy
02.25.11
I knew there would be an injury. There always is with DEP.

DoubtGin
02.25.11
man, I wish someone else would have played the guitar on that video

NigelH
02.25.11
Never really listened to these guys although I liked Olympic Airways. Perhaps I should check them out.

frogenhauser
02.26.11
Nice write-up. Slightly bemused by the indie = headphones comment though. Always been the other way around for me.

DaveyBoy
02.26.11
DoubtGin, they do have another guitarist. But yeah, I guess that was my point. Did they really need 2 guitarists (at least on the opening half) of 'SS'?

Nigel if you liked OA, you should like a fair bit of their stuff.

Thanks frogenhauser. I dunno, I guess it's just me... But then again, I'm probably not in the best place to comment since I haven't been to that many indie gigs.

Douglas
02.26.11
Seeing The Cat Empite at The Palace as well, such a great venue.

Davey, I was in traditional Indie wear, Black and White basball raglan, with some tight skinny jeans, couldn't have missed me ... well there was about 2000 people wearing the same thing! lol

DaveyBoy
02.27.11
More importantly, did you have your fringe combed down past your nose?

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