OXFORD based indie band, Foals, arrived at the Manchester Arena last night. I was there to review the evening…
Embarking on their first UK and Ireland arena tour, it’s only fair to say that the band, who formed back in 2005, have really earned their success. Following the release of their newest album ‘What went down’ in 2015, the band made surprise appearances at both Reading and Leeds festival last summer, hinting that they could possibly be tipped as the headliners for 2016.
Fast forward to early 2016 and the band are achieving more success than ever. Not only have they been announced as headliners for Reading and Leeds 2016, but they also began their stint of their arena tour on the 10th of February, kick starting their arena tour in Ireland.
Opening up the evening were Dom Boyce and Harrison Koisser, hosting their live ‘Peace DJ set’ to warm up the audience ready for Everything Everything, later followed by the headlining act, Foals.
As Everything Everything took to the stage, the instantly recognisable vocals of frontman, Jonathan Higgs, echoed throughout the arena. With a stunning vocal range and a mesmerising stage presence from all of the musicians, the band filled their set with a selection of their songs, including popular hits, ‘Regret’ and ‘Distant Past’ and particularly captivated the audience through their song ‘No Reptiles’. The band undoubtedly encoured the audience to participate with their set, with the crowd clapping and getting involved with the better known songs of the band.
With the audience suitably buzzing, Foals then suprisingly opened their set with two lesser known songs, which transitioned into arguably one of the bands best known songs, ‘My Number’. With an impressive light display, the sea of the boistrous audience were full of energy, chanting out the lyrics whilst jumping to their hearts content.
Following ‘My Number’ was ‘Blue Blood’, another one of the band’s older songs off previous album. This still received a brilliant reception before Foals opted to perform a much more calmer song in which frontman, Yannis Phillippakis, described as a ‘pre-valentines date night’ song. After delivering a spine-chilling performance, Foals then livened up their set again by proceeding to play their popular song off their newest album, ‘Mountain at my Gates’.
By this point in the set, it was obvious that the audience had dedicated themselves to the music, going wild at every possible point during the set. After a very lively performance of ‘Mountain at my Gates,’ the crowd only got more boistrous at the band performing ‘Providence’ off their second newest album, ‘Out of the Woods’.
The band then conducted a mesmerising performance of their hit, ‘ Spanish Sahara’. This song and the live performance reitterates how talented Foals are as musicians and songwriters. They can captivate a whole audience with upbeat and lively tracks, and still hold the attention when it comes down to the more emotional and heartfelt tracks.
It obviously wouldn’t be a true Foals gig without Yannis trying to crowd suff. ‘Late Night’ was next on the setlist, and the song that began Yannis’ run of crowdsufing throughout the rest of the evening. The showmanship performed by the whole band really proves that Foals have worked so hard to achieve their first arena tour. Yannis explained to the audience their first show in Manchester back in 2007 was at the small quirky Night and Day café in the Northern Quarter- demonstrating how much the band had grown in nine years.
‘A Knife in the Ocean’ and contrasting track ‘Inhaler’ were then both performed as the band’s two tracks prior to their encore, with the band expressing their thank yous to the lively and supportive crowd.
Upon their return to the stage, the crowd were roaring with excitement and the band proceeded to play their finishing songs. ‘London Thunder’ turned the arena into a sea of torches before the album-titled track, ‘What Went Down’ quickly turned the arena into a collation of mosh-pits. The band then ended their set with ‘Two Steps Twice’, finishing their set with plenty of mosh pits, chanting and energy.
An unforgettable performance by the incredibly talented Foals, there’s no doubt that this band will be returning to Manchester with their indie- rock anthems and unapolegetic energy.