The first time I saw Foals was on my birthday, at a concert where the Silversun Pickups were headlining. They opened for the band, playing right after another favorite of mine, Joywave. Following the electronic indie-rock band, Foals stole my heart with their unique mix of heavy, intense riffs and dreamy melodies.
The English indie-rock band was playing at the White Oak Music Hall on Tuesday during the Texas leg of their tour. It was my first time attending a concert at the new venue, and I was impressed. It had a new, modern feel to it, but its wood paneled walls and ceiling made it feel homey at the same time. It boasts bars downstairs, upstairs and even outside on the balcony.
Bearhands was the opener of the night, playing a mixture of electronic and indie tunes that set the stage perfectly for the headliner. Foals opened to Snake Oil from their newest album, “What Went Down.” Vocalist and lead guitarist Yannis Philippakis was both melodious and intense with his vocals, switching between singing and screaming at the appropriate moments. This is something he excells at, and Philippakis did it throughout the show.
During one song, Philippakis actually jumped off the stage and walked through the crowd, while still playing lead for the song. Behind him the band continued to play, while multicolored spotlights, strobe lights and lasers finished off the intense sensory experience nicely.
Foals also played “Give It All”—a slow jam where Philippakis serenades the audience, begging “give me it all.” The jam gets louder, but doesn’t lose the breezy, dreamlike sound it brings in the beginning.
When my favorite song, “Mountain At My Gates,” came on, I stopped taking notes and nearly lost my voice screaming the lyrics at the stage. It’s an anthem song full of slow builds that tease the audience, finally ending on one that fulfills its promise and sends the audience into a frenzy.
The band played two encores, and during the first, Philippakis stood above the crowd, riled them up and went crown surfing while the rest of the band played passionately.
Right before the final song, Philippakis said, “Thank you so much for being better than Dallas,” to much cheers and applause.
Their last song was “Two Steps, Twice,” a song from their 2008 album, “Antidotes.”
As they were playing, I looked down into the crowd and saw the inevitable happening, so I grabbed my friends and ran down from the balcony where we had spent most of the show. We pushed into the crowd and ended our night the right way—with a good old fashioned mosh pit (I had to take a break halfway through the song—it was pretty sad.)
Despite a few problems with the sound engineering, the new venue impressed me. The show was tight, the lighting was great and their ability to pull big names to their stage is not in question.
Foals cemented themselves as one of my favorites as well, putting on a show that was both intimate and intense at the same time. It never stopped feeling like a dream.