Yup, a bit late with this. Blame the 2 year old who never sleeps.
Anyway, I went to see Foals a couple of weeks ago. I used to not like Foals. They were one of those bands that really irritated me, for no particular reason. It was something to do with the way they always seemed to by much more into their music and their performance than anyone else in the room. So I was aware of them, but kind of in the background. But recently I would be listening to the radio (Radio 1 in the car, 6Music at home and at work) and I would hear a song, like it, find out who it was, and discover it was Foals. This happened quite a few times, for quite a few different songs. Radio 1 and 6 Music seemed to play different songs. After I while I couldn’t deny it any longer, I liked Foals. Well new Foals. Well new Foals on record. Then I found they were coming to the Hydro. I held off for a bit, but after the radio thing happened a few more times I looked into tickets. Standing was quite pricey (compared to my normal gig ticket expense) but seating was reasonable. I had a seat for Twin Atlantic and had had a blast, and wasn’t fussed about getting in amongst it with Foals so I went for a seated ticket.
Now the Hydro isn’t my favourite venue and I was guaranteed my seat so I wasn’t bothered about getting there early. The support was from Everything Everything, who I kind of recognised from the radio but wouldn’t have been able to tell you much about them. I timed it to arrive just when they were due to go on. I braced myself for the soulless corporate experience that is the Hydro and gritted my teeth as I worked my way past groups of people who clearly weren’t used to going to gigs (ugh, large events bring out the novices and excitables). That being said, it was quite fun to people-watch on the train and guess who else was going to the gig. Droves of young men with THE HAIR and THE JACKET and usually THE BEARD. And the side-kick girlfriend. I sported none of these.
The inside was slow to fill up, but most people were milling about at the bar or outside generally. Everything Everything were not at all how I imagined. Maybe I just wasn’t in gig mode yet, maybe it was cos the crowd were indifferent, maybe it was something else, but I don’t think they were very good. I recognised a lot of their songs, and I actually liked a lot of their songs, I think I’ve watched them on festival coverage etc. I don’t like writing negative things – I’ve said often enough I don’t write reviews, just about my experiences of gigs etc, but they sounded like a bad cover band or karaoke version of themselves. I was disappointed but they weren’t the main event so not to worry. Hopefully it was just an off day for them.
So then came the mandated 30 minute break. At the Hydro you get a schedule! Emailed to you in advance! I know that small venues have schedules, but in my experience they tend to be very loosely interpreted by all concerned, and rarely given to punters. Not at the Hydro. They have a designated 30 minute break between support and main act, and you get a 5 minute warning to take your seats! I felt like I was at the theatre or the opera.
The floor filled up but there were a fair number of seats near me still empty and whole sections of seating not used.
So Foals came on in a wall of noise. I was surprised at how many songs I recognised, based only on casual radio listening and a bit of Spotify preparation. It was strange not knowing which songs were fans favourites or had a particular meaning, the audience reaction to a few intro notes took me by surprise sometimes, but I enjoyed the set and there was mercifully little annoying smuggness in the performance. There was a few instances of pointless guitar wheedling that went on a bit too long but that’s an outsiders view, proper fans seemed to like it.
I enjoyed it, but I wasn’t completely won over like I was with Twin Atlantic. Maybe because it was a mellower kind of rock, maybe I am still holding on to that feeling that they are slightly annoying. It was good, but I don’t think I’d rush back to see them. Especially at a large venue. I bet it was more exciting seeing them on the way up, playing smaller venues. I can see they’d be good at a festival (I think they’re headlining somewhere this summer? Reading / Leeds?) I did have a good time, maybe I’m being unfair and comparing them too much.
It was cool to leave the Hydro and have that buzz of a large crowd in high spirits having enjoyed a collective experience. Although I did have to leg it to the station to make sure I made my train home.
Next stop – Mystery Jets!