Foals, Cage The Elephant + That Fucking Tank LIVE @ O2 Academy, Birmingham 11.02.14

 

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since Holy Fire was released. The third album from Foals peaked at no.2 on the UK charts; the highest yet. A year later and they’re in the middle of a UK tour which happened to land in Birmingham on the anniversary.

Opening the evening were That Fucking Tank and the reception they received was questionable. The announcement of their arrival onto the stage was performed by an electronic voice which was then followed by 10 minute long – what seemed like – jams between the 2 members; a guitarist and drummer. There was no question about their musical ability as playing such fast paced, complex songs for 10 minutes at a time couldn’t be done by anyone but the crowd seemed perplexed by what was being played on stage.

Returning back to what seemed normal were Cage The Elephant. An 11 song strong set made everyone get into the live music being played which was pushed by leadman Matt Shlutz’s unpredictable nature. Strutting round the stage and lying on the sweaty crowd left everyone getting excited for Foals to get on stage. Highlights were ‘Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked’ and ‘Come A Little Closer’ which got even the people not already fans of Cage The Elephant wanting to hear more.

What everyone was waiting for came up next. The lights dimmed and ‘Prelude’ sounded out causing shit to break out. The slow build up is what we all know and love Foals for so the unbearable wait for them to all to appear on stage made everyone become even more agitated and ready to get going. Following on was the old track ‘Hummer’ reminiscing from their beginnings – starting off with the old tracks can never go wrong. ‘Olympic Airways’ continued with the Antidotes theme keeping everyone in the crowd unable to stand still and what felt like suffocating each other.

Everything stayed on a high with ‘My Number’ swiftly following. It’s the one we all think of now when thinking of Foals so the instantly recognisable drum beats from Jack Bevan made the room replace the guitars with cries of the riff. Foals live are brutal so with these dance tracks everything gets turned up a notch and everyone erupted into a sea of pits of both people falling over and trying to dance along. Things calmed down for a slight second with (personal favourite) ‘Blue Blood’ but then once again, hell broke loose as the song went on; there was no time for a break for the entirety of their set. Returning back to Holy Fire with ‘Milk & Black Spiders’ and ‘Providence’ the upbeat atmosphere carried on with everyone falling over each other while shouting along with Yannis and once in a while being pushed aside to form pits. It’d have been rude not to give Holy Fire a proper birthday celebration.

If you’ve ever seen Foals you’ll know how things go down during ‘Spanish Sahara’; everyone gets a bit teary eyed while pulling each other down to the floor and then shouting at the onlookers to “sit the fuck down”. The floor was filled with people sitting on top of each other while the security guys were peering over the barrier with a confused look in their faces but when that build up begins everything was contrasted with the brutal crowd returning within a couple of seconds. Things were kept energetic for a little while longer with ‘Red Socks Pugie’ but then once again everyone was tamed for ‘Late Night’ as the whole venue sang/screamed along. The incandescent cries of “staaaaayyyy wittthhhh meeee” were broken up with small outbursts of movement causing the raucous to continue. Ending the main set was ‘Inhaler’ and what a closer it was. They left us – briefly – on a high. It got so fierce with both the music and the crowd. That opening riff gave the go ahead to go crazy and sure enough, everyone gave in.

The wait for the encore didn’t last long as soon Yannis, Jack, Jimmy, Walter and Edwin made their way back onto the stage while being greeted with cheers from everyone present – 11 songs wasn’t enough to say goodbye yet. They started it off with ‘The French Open’ which got everyone dancing along while joining in with the French and shouting along with the riffs. It’s everything you want from a gig. Finally closing it all was ‘Two Steps Twice’ and with spanning a good 10 minutes it was clear Foals didn’t want to leave themselves. About half way in, leadman Yannis appeared on the balcony above the crowd trying to pull himself over the barrier while ignoring the security man trying his hardest to stop him from running along the top of the crowd. Did he even think the manic little man would try and jump? He signalled to the crowd below that the countdown for the jump was about to begin. It got to one which caused boos to overtake the whole room as he got pulled back but soon enough he returned to the stage not phased by his failed attempt of crowd surfing. As everyone continued with the “ba ba da ba ba daa” no-one minded that he wasn’t on top of them but instead on the stage as everyone returned to the previous mosh-filled state the room was in.

Everything’s going the right way for Foals; they broke the Birmingham crowd and left everyone going home in need for another tour. Their live sets live up to their “Best Live Act” status and it looks like it can only get better for these guys.

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