Find Out ‘What Went Down’ with Foals at the Hordern

Last Tuesday evening, we had the pleasure of sending our guest writer TN to see UK indie act Foals (with support from Django Django) perform in Sydney at the Hordern for their side-show, fresh off the stage at Falls Festival. Check out 'What Went Down'. Pun intended.

Foals Concert Review

It would be a fairly safe bet that if you were to throw a stone into the Sydney sky this Summer, you may just hit a touring international artist. No really, they aren’t bad odds!

The Falls Festival is one reason for this, bringing in the likes of Bloc Party, Disclosure, Young Fathers, Toro Y Moi and local legend Courtney Barnett for the New Years roster. Tonight at the Horden, we will be getting a slice of UK’s most electrifying and diverse in Foals with support from Django Django.

One thing I never quite understood is that Foals always seemed to be on everyone’s ‘Band to Watch’ lists. After four solid LP releases, the latest being “What Went Down”, the lads have strongly secured why they deserve to be on the radar.

As the crowd comes pouring in from a tar-drenched evening, you can tell it’s not because they’re escaping the shitty weather. They are eager and frothing to see a full catalogue set list. But I must admit, the downpour makes all the indie fan-boys and girls slightly feral.

I arrive halfway through Mansionair‘s set. Hidden behind their fringes, the boys are still finding their feet, however, I cannot help but sway to their hypnotic bass lines and arpeggiated synths. They’ve perked up the crowd nicely with their version of ‘Seasons (Waiting on You)’. Everyone’s now switched on.

I’m now beading up with sweat. Everyone is anxiously and abruptly claiming their spots up front early into the night. The punters’ feral behaviours are now mutating. The wait is crawling under their skins. Once Django Django grace the stage, their fix is met. The Djangos have charm and buzz that you gravitate to.

Armed with tambourines, a vibraslap and floor tom, these guys dance around each other orchestrated and frantic. It’s quite marvellous to witness. The pulsing drive of ‘First Light’ is a highlight of their set, as well as crowd favourite ‘Default’e. Their geek-chic appearance, spot on harmonies and crunched Telecaster tones can’t help but make me think of a marriage between Franz Ferdinand and Devo. These guys are genuinely fun. And they are the support!? Let us dance a little more.

Django Django wrap up and it is now feverish. Everyone is damp, and they most certainly smell it. These kids are growing restless and thirsty. Much more of a wait and it’ll be on for the two girls in front of me. I think ‘’m saved by the house lights dimming, but then it turns into every man for themselves.

Foals emerge through the smoke and lights and absolutely rip into the face-melting ‘Snake Oil’. One song in and everyone is now infectious. Yannis Philippakis is mainly to blame for this; his howls are overwhelming and he dances to his own beat. Wherever he walks, the crowd push and yearn closer. Some control returns once the opening riffs of ‘Mountain At My Gates’ are played. This much the theme for tonight’s show, a balanced set that showcases their ability to go balls out as well as display their intricate songwriting abilities.

Foals Concert Review_3

What I’ve loved about every Foals record is their skill to play every delicate note to the tee. This has been translated into their live show effortlessly; they make it look so damn easy. Jack Bevan helps the cause by being so tight on the drums and keeping the band in check. They mix up the set with oldies ‘Olympic Airways’ and ‘Red Socks Pugie’, and ‘Spanish Sahara’ seems to have everyone in a trance.

‘My Number’ is introduced early into the set and has the sickly crowd singing in unison. The extremities of the Hordern are now on their feet and tap their toes. Seems like we are all friends again. The distortion of ‘Inhaler’ and ‘What Went Down’ has us amped up again, so much so that the guy next to me MUST insist on playing air guitar.

This set has surely not disappointed. I may not have gotten my dosage of classics ‘Cassius’ or ‘The French Open’, but I’m not mad. Foals have delivered and will continue to deliver. Their extended finisher ‘Two Steps, Twice’ sums up their ferocity and the punters leave with their hearts pounding. They just want to keep moving.

*Words and photography by TN.

Foals – January 5th, 2016.
Hordern Pavilion