Audience members at Chicago’s Vic Theatre were treated to a vivacious show on Friday night. In a venue packed to capacity, British rock band Foals brought the energy to Chicago, extending past their slotted showtime and playing well into the night, to much of the audience’s delight.
Opening the night was GLOVE, an electro-punk group out of Tampa that mixed its four-to-the-floor rhythms with emphatic synth bass lines and washed-out vocal textures. The look and sound of this group truly feels like they were spawned from another time, or maybe even another world, dawning very avant-garde wardrobes to accompany them onstage. LA-based indie group Inner Wave followed, showering the audience with slick synths and laid-back grooves. Lead singer Pablo Sotelo’s smooth vocals echoed through the venue as his leather jacket glistened with the streaks of light on the dimly lit stage.
The sea of almost 1,000 people eagerly awaited Foals and began chanting for their entrance onstage.
Since Foals’ first album Antidotes arrived in 2008, band members Yannis Philippakis (guitar/vocals), Jack Bevan (drums), and Jimmy Smith (lead guitar) have had more than a decade to tinker, tune, and experiment with their sound. The band’s eclectic discography spans many genres, including math rock, indie, electro pop, funk, and progressive rock in its repertoire, skillfully interweaving traits of all of those genres within their work. With the recent release of its seventh studio album Life Is Yours this past June, Foals has found the recipe for crafting dance-infused alternative rock, and fans know it.
As the lights dimmed, the band emerged to “Wake Me Up”, an anthemic track off Life Is Yours. Smith’s funk-infused guitar in combination with punchy drums and Philippakis’ catchy hook provided a grand entrance for the night. Audiences shouted along to the lyrics, following along to every word to fan favorites like “My Number”, as if it had been rehearsed before. Each syncopated drum kick was queued up to the house lights, allowing quick glimpses of the dozens of bobbing heads of the crowd and the hands clapping all the way up into the balcony viewing. The edgy riff on “The Runner” crushed sound waves, while softer tones in “Spanish Sahara” slowed down the show, filling the venue with deep blue lighting. Throughout the set, Philippakis and Co. fed the crowd nonstop high energy and tight riffs. The regular set ended with the ambient vibe of “Neptune” and led into the much deserved encore, which featured radio hit “Mountain at my Gate”, progressive rock behemoth “Inhaler” which nearly sent the crowd into a music hurricane, and dance-infused “Two Steps, Twice” which brought Philippakis out into the crowd to dance with fans.
Everyone in the audience exited the venue ecstatic, the band and the crowd held that level of excitement the entire night. “We love playing in Chicago, because you guys f***in’ bring it” Philippakis said to the audience during the show. “For those of you coming to tomorrow night’s show, let’s do it again!”