Published Sep 28, 2010Foals headed in a new direction when they released their toned-down sophomore album, Total Life Forever, earlier this year. The album was a stark contrast to 2008's jagged, danceable Antidotes, trading bursts of guitar and drums for calmer vocal hooks and spaced-out sounds. But if Foals' Toronto show at Lee's Palace indicated anything, it's that their sound is as bursting and danceable as ever.
Drummer Jack Bevan made it clear from the set's opener — title track "Total Life Forever" — that he would not slow down over the course of the evening. Foals blasted through songs new and old in a ten-song set and two-song encore. A lot of weight was given to their early material, even though they
were touring behind their new album, but the energetic crowd didn't
care. They wanted to jump, dance and clap to whatever was played for them.
The new songs? "Total Life Forever," "Miami," "Afterglow," "2 Trees," "Alabaster" and "Spanish Sahara." The old songs? "Olympic Airways," "Balloons," "Red Socks Pugie" and "Electric Bloom." The encore? "The French Open" and a crushing version of "Two Steps, Twice." The disappointments? Way-too-persistent guitar problems for guitarist Jimmy Smith, who spent half his time dancing around the guitar tech who was busy fixing his gear.
And the best part? The only thing more furious than Foals' jams was frontman Yannis Philippakis. While he first sang and strummed standing still, guitar strapped close to his chest, he began to throw himself around the stage by the set's halfway point, giving into his own crushing guitar and flying across the stage.
As the set went on, he found himself alternating between exuberance and calm, switching gears from peaceful standstill to throwing his whole weight into a floor tom and diving into the crowd. As Smith's tech problems persisted, Philippakis found himself across the stage and then off the stage. At the height of his mania, halfway through "Two Steps, Twice," he was at the back of the room, playing on top of the bar and unwillingly commanding the audience to divide their attention. They were happy to abide — until the band left the stage for the final time just after his return.