Joining a major label can definitely lead to different, but still good, line-ups for tours. Foals, the headlining band, was accompanied by Blondfire and Surfer Blood last Saturday at Emo’s East. While they all don’t exactly fit into the same genre or category, these three bands were still great on their own account.
Blondfire kicked off the sold-out show with only a 30-minute set. Siblings Erica and Bruce Driscoll played a tight set but their sound didn’t seem to attract too many people in the crowd. The band has a synth-pop sound that should have been supported with above-average energy but the band’s stage presence was mediocre. Erica’s voice, light and melodic, was the highlight of the band’s set. They closed with their hit single “Where The Kids Are,” and it was obvious that the best was saved for last.
Alternative rockers Surfer Blood took to the stage around 10:45 p.m. and from start to finish, they delivered. Surfer Blood’s music has a sort of old rock ‘n’ roll twist to it that takes you back. Frontman John Paul Pitts’ screaming vocals throughout each song were on point. The band kicked off their set with a track from their upcoming album release Pythons, an album that is already looking like a summer hit. During the fourth song “Twin Peaks,” the band’s bond was apparent when Pitts and guitarist Thomas Fekete turned to each other and leaned, forehead to forehead, as they played their guitars. As the band began to play their seventh song, Pitts said to the crowd that they were going to play his favorite song. “Take It Easy” is a track that starts out with a fidgety sound but then later slows down to a captivating flowing feel. The band played a strong, tight set and they finished strong with “Swim,” one of their hit singles from their debut album Astro Coast.
After much anticipation, Foals came onto the stage a little after midnight and as soon as one band member stepped on the stage, everyone in the crowd began to push forward. They started their set with the “Prelude” track on their album Holy Fire and it drove the crowd crazy with excitement. The drums resonated through me during the entire set. As the band jumped into “Inhaler,” the crowd jumped with them. Throughout their hour-and-a-half, 13-song set, the band never lost their memento. The funkiest track of the set had to go to “My Number,” a song that most people will say sounds like Talking Heads. Halfway through the show is when the madness really set in. Frontman Yannis Philippakis riled the crowd up by standing up on the rails between the stage and the crowd while playing his guitar then later diving into the hands of his fans. Foals managed to balance out their songs so that after every one or two intense, hard-hitting tracks, they followed up with a slower song that brought the fans down from the high; not completely, just a little bit.
The band closed out with a three-song encore that made the crowd even rowdier. Philippakis did some more crowd surfing and also came down stage right to take a lap around the back of the crowd while playing his guitar to “Two Steps, Twice.” The pit was a sea of sweaty, dancing fans that didn’t want the show to end. But alas, the show came to an end and Foals exited the stage to screams and cheers from the crowd.