FOALS Continues To Bring Passion and Heart To The Stage


The winter slump has hit us up here in the Twin Cities. I’m not saying there aren’t some amazing shows coming up, there are, but I’m seeing my calendar slow down. Maybe it’s a blessing being that winter is always insane and I truly hate driving in the snow because my car is about the size of a go-cart. Maybe it’s a curse because my life is live music and, without it, things start to get weird in my head. Regardless, I find myself going to very random shows this time of year, and Thursday night’s concert was one of those. It’s not that I didn’t know of FOALS. I’m super familiar with them and have seen them a few times before but they are just not my standard go-to. That being said, I walked into The Fillmore on Thursday bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

Glove took the stage right at 7:30 and whisked the quickly growing audience into a completely different time. Glove’s music has this almost 80’s style to it with the heavy synth sound, electronic drums, and eerie vocals. Although the throwback sound wasn’t for me, I found myself stuck in Glove’s world throughout their thirty-five-minute set. Something was captivating about their stage presence and how understated it was. The only time I felt an undeniable sense of energy was when the female drummer (I don’t know her name and it’s a bit hard to find information about this band online so I apologize) took to the microphone and gave the audience a piece of her mind through song. Okay, that sounds dramatic but the energy that she brought to the music, stage, audience, and everything else was staggering compared to the rest of the set and it was something I wish I had gotten more of. All in all, Glove was great and although it wasn’t quite my cup of tea, I thoroughly enjoyed being transported to a different time and world.

The final opening act was Inner Wave from Los Angeles. As soon as they took the stage, I found my eyes glued to bassist Jean Pierre Narvaez. Beyond his shirt that turned bright green when the lights hit it, his energy and smile were infectious and it took me a few songs to peel my eyes off of him and turn to the rest of the band and figure out what Inner Wave was all about. Much like Glove, Inner Wave’s music was unique and not something you would hear when turning on the radio or anything like that but it was accessible and enjoyable. From wicked bass lines to almost droney-sounding vocals, there was this odd infectious energy that reigned supreme throughout their set that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. There were moments throughout their set where I was completely enthralled by what they were doing and others when I felt like they had lost my attention but they quickly got it back with a smile or a catchy guitar riff. As they left the stage to make room for the headliner, I found myself feeling a bit confused but, overall, satisfied and wanting to know a bit more about this band.

When I first got to the Fillmore, the audience was sparse and that’s putting it nicely but, by the time headliners FOALS took the stage, the room was packed and people were excited to see this British rock band. I know that “rock” is a huge classification but, when it comes to FOALS, that’s the best way to describe them. Sure, I could get into the fact that they have indie-pop, dance-punk, math rock, art punk, and other genres blended into their sound but that would honestly take too much time and may make me sound like a crazy person so let’s just call them a rock band for the case of this article. Also, let’s be honest, I go to shows for the energy more than the music so let me lay out the energy from their set for you.

When it comes to the energy from the stage– it was electric. With six members, that was to be expected. However, I loved how each member seemed to be in their own little world while performing while still having silent communication with the other members. It was a super cool thing to see and just proved that this band is full of seasoned professionals. FOALS have been around the block. They have been around since 2005 and even though they have gained some success with a few more commercialized singles, I feel like they have always stayed just ever so slightly underground. This band has a sound that could easily fill an arena but that sound is just a bit obscure when compared to other bands in the scene which has both helped and hurt FOALS in my opinion.

When it comes to the energy from the audience– it was weird and even got the attention of vocalist Yannis Philippakis. Right when FOALS took the stage, I noticed security weaving in and out of the audience. A few times, it looked as if they were escorting some people out of the crowd but I didn’t think twice about it. I figured it was just people having a few too many drinks as that is something that seems to spike in the winter months. I went on about my night and shifted from the front of the audience to the back so I could see the full effect of the light show happening during FOALS’ set and that’s when I realized something else had to have been going on. After a couple of songs, Yannis took a breather and asked the crowd what the heck was going on. He kneeled towards the crowd trying to hear what the commotion had been about. I don’t think he could hear a full answer but returned to center stage explaining that people were there for a concert, not a WWF event and that it was only a Thursday night… not even Saturday. He was right. the majority of the audience was there for a show and I feel so bad for those audience members who had found themselves next to whatever fight was happening because Yannis was right. This was an audience there to see the music, not the drama, and the way it visibly affected Yannis and the rest of the band made it clear that they were there to give the audience what they wanted.

Beyond the slight hiccup of drama during FOALS’ set, they went on to play a set full of songs that got the audience moving. They played each of those tracks flawlessly and with a sense of flair that is impossible to get from their recordings alone. FOALS may not be one of those bands that I listen to on the daily, but every time I see them perform, I am reminded of their sheer talent and passion and that’s what will keep me coming back to their shows as long as they do them!