Foals | 06.07.13

Sweat-soaked, Philippakis and Foals drummer Jack Bevan ensured that “Two Steps, Twice” would ring through listeners’ heads for the following week.



In perhaps the most proper way to welcome a St. Louis summer, Surfer Blood opened for Foals at The Pageant on a surprisingly beautiful (read: not oppressively humid) June evening. It’s been two years since both Surfer Blood and Foals have played St. Louis (Surfer Blood played a memorable set at 2011’s LouFest). While an outdoor setting may be great for Surfer Blood’s ample use of reverb, The Pageant was a great venue to fully experience said effect and have lead singer John Paul Pitts’ vocals warmly envelop bodies, even in the dark, cool space.

Despite touring ahead of the release of Pythons, released days after the show, Surfer Blood was sure to mix new singles with their classics from both Astro Coast and Tarot Classics. As their jovial pop rang out from front to back to the Halo Bar, concertgoers were singing along, bobbing their heads, and tapping their feet to the playful beats and tight, yet somehow meandering guitar riffs.

Where seeing Surfer Blood may be like a warm early summer breeze, Foals are the fireworks and momentous thunderstorms of the season. Always bombastic, Foals were determined to play beyond the confines of The Pageant—quite a feat, considering last time they rolled through they blew the lid off the intimate Firebird. Rock music’s current best frontman, Yannis Philippakis is always worth the price of admission with his thick accent, flailing, and habit of walking/thrashing amongst the crowd with his guitar. During the sonorous and wide open portion of “Inhaler,” Philippakis, as he’s wont to do, left the stage, sending Pageant security into a panic as they couldn’t see where he’d gone. A few seconds later he reappeared at the back of the floor area nearest the seating.

Listening to Holy Fire at home is quite a treat: equal parts danceable and headbang inducing, part soothing harmonies and delicate compositions, part aggressive, funky, and heavier than cement. The Oxford crew seemed to leave the delicate portions at home and brought the heaviness and funkiness to the forefront. “My Number” garnered the most cheers of the night as men and women of all ages tried to dance, but merely fumbled to the catchy beat. “Providence” did little to help the rhythmically challenged dancers in the crowd, but got everyone riled up as they played off Philippakis’ howls.

Much like their openers, Foals played an array of songs from all of their albums and even treated the crowd to older songs like “Red Socks Pugie,” killing their closing tune “Two Steps, Twice.” Turning it up to 11 and graciously thanking the crowd, a sweat-soaked Philippakis and Foals drummer Jack Bevan ensured that “Two Steps, Twice” would ring through listeners’ heads for the following week. | Jennifer Metzler

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