In an unusually intimate show at the Liquid Rooms, Foals once again proved to be one of the most formidable live acts of the moment. Joined by Everything Everything’s bassist Jeremy Pritchard, the band remained characteristically menacing despite the loss of Walter Gervers, igniting the venue in a demonstration of their raw energy.
To see such an immense band opt to play the 800 capacity Liquid Rooms was surreal. The band carries itself with the kind of unmatched spirit that sells out arenas and festivals in minutes. Without the usual embellishment of arena shows, this performance sees Foals cut back to their Oxford roots, only making them stronger in terms of their showmanship. It’s an entirely curtailed show which amasses ten times the energy seen in arena-level artists. Fierce riffs married themselves well with the percussive talent of Jack Bevan, with Philippakis’ vocals invigorating the performance – when he wasn’t launching himself into the crowd.
Yannis Philippakis, Foals’ electric frontman, was a spectacle to behold within himself. Disregarding the venue’s warning signs declaring that any crowd surfers would be ejected, he dives from the balcony into the crowd, to the hectic performance of ‘Providence,’ one of the highlights of an eclectic setlist which harked back to earlier tracks such as ‘Red Socks Pugie’ and ‘Olympic Airways.’ New material was introduced to a fanatical crowd; their newest single; the colossal ‘Sunday’ begins softly, showcasing the vocal ability of Philippakis, and descends into the kind of provocative build which Foals have built their brand upon.
In terms of their older tracks, ‘Spanish Sahara’ was more profoundly intimate than ever before, almost as though it was written to be played in a squashed venue with just a handful of people there to hear it. ‘My Number’ set the place alight with its chant-like rhythm, with the room transforming into a dancefloor.
As for the new material; ‘In Degrees,’ seems to have the greatest ramifications. Carrying high levels of funk and an infinitely catching indie-rock melody, this is certain to be one of the best of the new album. Their abounding new singles explore complex futuristic themes relating to the environment and general society-induced panic, but despite their immersive lyrics, musically they landed somewhere in-between anthems and prophecies. ‘Exits’ invigorated the crowd to a divine degree, being sung back to Philippakis like an already cemented classic.
“Time away from me, is what I need” croons Philippakis, a line from the single ‘Sunday’. I couldn’t disagree more, Foals have once again manifested an unequivocal brawniness which will no doubt been seen in the release of their new album Everything Not Saved Will be Lost, released 8th March 2019.
Image: Erin May Kelly