My mate suggested Foals to me when we were in year 13, which would have been around the release of their fourth album ‘What Went Down’ way back in 2015. He said he’d make me an irresistible playlist that would have me hooked from the moment I listened, a new favourite band he promised me. I was keen, of course. As a little suburban white kid why would I not want to expand my indie/art/math/alternative/post rock listening sphere? Well, the playlist never came, my mate went to live in Wellington and I never ended up listening to Foals, a trend which continued until, well, this last Friday night. It’s not unusual for me to go to a gig completely blind on an artist, but there was something about going into Foals which felt a little different. It’s clear they have an extremely dedicated fanbase, half of the crowd seemed to know 90%+ of the lyrics (something I can’t say I know about my favourite artists), which was made even more impressive considering the 1 hour 40 minute setlist. This show was for the fans, not bandwagoners like me. Yet despite being a Foals noob, I still had a really good time. It’s certainly not music that’s difficult to get into upon first listen, and it helped that that most of their tunes are danceable as heck. And the musicianship, damn, Foals are a tight band. Often seamlessly transitioning from one song to another, it sometimes felt like a single polished jam session. The single song I knew beforehand, about not having someone’s number (turns out it’s understandably called My Number) was a highlight for me, although there were plenty of other tunes I didn’t recognize that made the night special. The town hall is absolutely perfect for gigs like this. The reverb gifted by the great hall wrapped the sound in a warm blanket which really enhanced the sound of the band’s more atmospheric tracks. Aesthetically, there’s something pretty cool about watching a high-energy alt. rock band dressed in short sleeve Hawaiian shirts with fake ferns as stage decoration play in a 100-year-old baroque-style concert chamber. But hey, when is the town hall not subject to a clash of worlds like this these days?
The crowd was as sweaty and danced out as they could have been when the show finished. As I waited for my posse at the entrance, I happened to spy the face of my mate who’d failed to make me that playlist all those years ago. Funnily enough, that was the first thing he yelled out as an apology when he saw me. He was as sweaty and red faced as anyone else, and he was absolutely frothing the gig. Who knows how big a Foals fan I could have been by now if I’d had that proper earlier exposure? Ah, well, better start some time I guess.
- Buster Darragh Major
I always enjoy starting the night off, dancing my heart out! And Daffodils are brilliant at getting a crow to do just that. When I found out that my mates were opening for FOALS, I got so excited for them! Playing a sold-out show at Auckland's Town Hall and opening for an international band, is no easy feat, but Daffodils deserved every minute of it.
- Madeleine Brighouse-Mayo (Images included)