FOALS. Royal Albert Hall. 28th March 2013. Matinée Show.

28 03 2013

 

I’ve loved Foals from the very start. I’ve wanted to see them live from the first day I ever heard of them. No one I knew ever liked them enough to go with me to see them. Fortunately, I have a brilliant girlfriend who understands my love for them. So after waiting what seemed an eternity, this afternoon I finally got to see them. I didn’t think I could deal with the excitement after seeing Beach House on Tuesday because since then everything has been a blur, and I think it still is. I think this is the only way to solider on through life in general. Stay in a daze.

They came on stage. One by one. First Jimmy, then lastly Yannis. It was kind of hard to see Yannis as he’s only a few inches taller than me. I’m not exactly tall, but you learn to embrace being short. I suppose.

The set list is incredible. Who cares that Afterglow or Cassius or Balloons wasn’t played. They ended on Two Steps, Twice. Nothing can beat that. NOTHING. Oh maybe except for Yannis going into the crowd a few times. No big deal (it really was.) Mid-set he had sailed through the seating area with his guitar then into the standing. Greeted by roaring cheers. Fans anxious to touch and take a photo of their modern-day hero.

I want to talk about the venue briefly before I go on about how incredible this afternoon was. I’ve never been to the Royal Albert Hall, but I’ve always wanted to see something special. Even from the outside, you know you are about to walk into something truly spectacular. When I walked in, I was in awe of how many people were there. Everything from the stage set-up to the general architecture of the building was truly breath-taking. Then Foals came on and just blew my mind. The way they play is just so bloody tight, and with so much love. Jimmy jangles about the stage; his towering frame is difficult to tear your eyes away from. Jack’s drumming is just out of this world. Walter is the smoothest bassist around. Edwin is in another world on the keys. Yannis is probably one of the best frontmen around. He doesn’t need to engage in pointless talk to keep you hooked. The way he sings every single word- especially off their latest record, Holy Fire seems like some kind of much needed release.

I never thought, for some reason they would play Bad Habit live. But they did, and I really don’t think I can fully explain how badly I wanted to hear it.  Holy Fire is a beautiful record, and lets face it; it is the best record of 2013 so far. On record it is just so stunning. How can it sound equally as beautiful live? Quite easily. When they played Moon it was honestly one of the best moments I have ever EVER seen at a gig. You don’t need me to tell you how gorgeous Spanish Sahara was too. You know that euphoric point in the song? Just after the intense build-up? If you’ve never witnessed it live, then you may not have experienced perfection.

I thought I couldn’t take anymore strobe lighting after Beach House on Tuesday, turns out everyone loves a strobe! The lighting at the Royal Albert Hall was just phenomenal. A lot of time and effort, and so much thought and care has evidently gone into playing their two shows today at the Royal Albert Hall. I’m not really sure if anyone else could pull off something so brilliant. The crowd was jumping up and grabbing the lights and just generally having the best time. For that hour and a half, nothing in the world seemed to matter. Nothing does matter when you’re in the company of one of your favourite bands really. How could you possibly have a care in the world when stood in front of one of the best bands this country has?! What was also lovely about the crowd was the diversity. There wasn’t a generic kind of person there. Foals fans love music, you can tell just by watching how they react to seeing them live.

What I really loved was looking around this gorgeous venue and just seeing everyone going a bit mental to certain songs. Songs such as My Number and Total Life Forever. Looking around and see everyone glow in the midst of everything was just gorgeous. I don’t have a strong memory, but this afternoon’s gig is something that is going to be permanently cemented in my brain for a very long time. You try your best to cling onto certain moments in life to get you through, I think this will be one of them.

From Jack stepping out from the drums to get the crowd to clap to Yannis’ vocals on Late Night, everything about this afternoon was excellent. More bands should do matinée shows because when you leave you feel you are in a dream world. Maybe you are. It’s hard to believe a band like Foals are real. I always knew they put on a brilliant live show from reviews I’ve read and clips I have seen, but to finally see it for myself is something else. Something that just makes you want to keep on seeing it. It may be the first time I’ve seen them, but I know it sure as hell will not be the last.

Like with Beach House earlier in the week, this show just proved that waiting is not really an issue, especially if it is for something as special and as magnificent as this. Not only did Foals reinforce my love for them this afternoon, but also for my love for music in general. It’s easy to just like a band or music out of habit, but this was out of this world. The way the lighting looked like ripples in water during Spanish Sahara to the ending of Inhaler, this show was just made up of special moments that I will always hold very dear to me.





FOALS-Holy Fire.

11 02 2013

“It is perfect. It is beautiful and still.”

 

My opinion on Foals is biased. Biased because I adore them and because everything I want in a band; they are exactly it. I also think Yannis is probably the best frontman around. That’s a different matter though (but I’ve watched enough interviews he’s done to come to the conclusion that he’s just brilliant, intelligent and really really bloody funny.) Anyway, what’s changed since Total Life Forever? In short, everything.

Holy Fire is out of this world. I guess some would be dubious about whether or not they could make something as great as their previous two records; but when you love a band with everything you have you believe that they can do no wrong. You believe in them and when presented with their new record, you feel at home again. You fall in love with the band all over again because all the reasons that caused you to fall in love with them the first time around just hits you all over again. This is happening right now as I listen to Holy Fire.

As soon as the CD came in the post today (I ordered it from my favourite record shop, Resident Records in Brighton. I fully recommend you buy something from them. Excellent customer service both in the shop and online) I opened it up and just looked at the artwork. Flicked through the booklet and knew immediately I was holding something beautiful in my hands. From the front cover to the band shot in the centre of the booklet to Tinhead’s handwritten lyrics; everything about it just made me believe I was about to listen to something astounding.

Holy Fire starts with the face-smashing Prelude which then goes right into the brain-melter that is Inhaler. When I heard Inhaler last year, it felt like some kind of epiphany or even a release. The way Yannis yells “SPACE” gets me, every single time. Just thinking about it is enough to give me goosebumps. When you just think about a song and this happens, you know you have found sheer perfection.

If I go on about the production on Holy Fire, I will never shut up. I could quite happily go on and on about how on point and brilliant it is, but if you’ve heard the record you will know exactly what I mean. Please go buy Holy Fire. Please. Yannis has a voice that even when his voice crackles slightly (Late Night is a prime example of this) he just sounds so wonderfully vulnerable which makes you really really feel every single word he sings. Edwin, Walter, Jimmy and Jack just make you wish you could play an instrument and be in a band as tight as Foals. Yannis makes you wish you could sing. Hand on heart, this is their best record. I thought I’d have a bit of an issue saying this because I really cannot put into words how much I love Antidotes and Total Life Forever. So yes, Holy Fire is not only the best record they have done but let’s be honest here, it’s evidently going to be the best record of the year isn’t it (if Warpaint release their second record this year, then I will have two favourites of the year but for now, it is Foals.)

I usually find it so easy to pick a favourite track off any record. It happens mainly with first or second listen. This hasn’t happened with Holy Fire. I wish I could pick one song to just obsess over and over. It just won’t happen. I love the sentiment and passion in every single song. I love how every single song is like a dream and that songs like Milk & Black Spiders just oozes such devotion and love. It’s an annoying thing to say, but everything about Holy Fire is so pure. It honestly feels like the gentlest dream you could possibly imagine having. I’m 100% sure that when I fly to Liverpool this afternoon and get on a train for 2 hours this evening to my girlfriend’s that this is the only thing I will be playing. I’ll gaze out of the window and certain parts of certain songs (3.53 in Milk & Black Spiders onwards is on one of them) will just make me want to grab the person sitting next to me and just make them listen to it. Then probably have some in-depth discussion about it all. This is why I write.

I could have easily summed this all up by saying; “HOLY FIRE IS THE BEST THING YOU’LL HEAR ALL YEAR. NOTHING ELSE MATTERS.” But it’s a record that just made me want to pour all this love out. I was already stupidly excited about seeing them at the Royal Albert Hall (matinée show, I feel upper class! Not sure how….) This was shown on Friday night after I had a little bit of Red Stripe and wine, and got really excited about a poster for the gig at a tube station. I’m sure my girlfriend told me to shut up, quite rightly so. I took a photo of the poster because I’m a bit ridiculous it seems. Or, I just have a lot of love for Foals. Let’s go for the latter.

So there you have it, from the last 30 seconds of Providence to fragility in songs like Bad Habit; Holy Fire is a truly gorgeous record. Not only will fellow Foals obsessives fall completely and utterly in love with it, but those who aren’t too familiar with them will probably also fall for them too. I could play Holy Fire to my mum and I know it’d cause her to develop an obsession. Maybe my gran too, who knows. I may give that a try. She likes The Jesus And Mary Chain, so it is worth a try. It’s a record that you just do not want to end at all.

Holy Fire doesn’t just show how the band have developed since they started, but it also shows how close they are. When you know a band love each other and how much they enjoy making music together, it just makes you love them even more. It also makes you connect with them even more. Very rarely do I feel I can relate to every song on a record, but with Holy Fire it comes easily. It is honestly a perfect record from start to finish. Buy it for yourself, buy it for others as a gift or just because you think they need it; because let’s face it, they do need it.