Foals live at  Belsonic with support Frightened Rabbit Jun24

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Foals live at Belsonic with support Frightened Rabbit

 

FOALS AT BELSONIC

Thursday, June 24th’s Belsonic event fell foul of that great British talking point: no, not the referendum, the weather. The skies gradually darkened ominously throughout the day, and by the time support act Frightened Rabbit took to the stage the rain was beating a fairly heavy tattoo on the ground. Not that their fans let it stop them, with several hundred hardy souls huddled under umbrellas and raincoats in front of the stage, awaiting their arrival. Once they hit the stage the band took it all in their stride, too (well they are Scottish), sending out wave after wave of their radio friendly indie rock amidst joking reassurances that the weather would definitely clear up. 

Tracks such as ‘Holy’, ‘I Wish I Was Sober’ and clear favourite ‘Keep Yourself Warm’ hit the crowd right in the feels, alternating between warm and cosy and self-flagellating and bittersweet, often within the one song. They battle on through two sound cuts and the rain (“This is the start of our summer festival season” quips frontman Scott Hutchison), leaving the crowd thoroughly enveloped in their lovely, Scottish-accented and earnest ‘Travis x Coldplay’ indie rock.

That the rain only stays off for the first four of Foals’ songs but the area in front of the stage remains tightly packed with fans says all you need to know about the devotion this band evoke. As the backlights on the stage begin flashing the crowd fire up and start cheering, which rises to a roar when the band appear. Opening with ‘Snake Oil’, they soon whip the crowd into a froth of ardour and animation, which only stills momentarily as vocalist Yannis Philippakis addresses them. “It’s been awhile, thanks for coming out tonight. Hope you have a good time” he remarks, before the band launch into ‘Total Life Forever’, the jaunty ‘Providence’, the ‘lighters in the air’ throb of ‘This Orient’ and the peculiarly named but nonetheless fun ‘Red Socks Pugie’, among others.

This is nothing if not a crowd pleasing set, with favourites ‘Mountain at My Gates’, ‘What Went Down’ and rocking set highlight ‘Inhaler’ all being played with razor sharp precision and unfettered joy. There are several elements all melded together in Foals’ music: a bit of indie rock, a bit of stadium rock, even a touch of bluesy swagger, all of which combine to create something that is relatable and easy on the ear. They finish with the Muse-ish ‘Two Steps, Twice’ and leave the sodden stage under a canopy of ecstatic applause. No encore unfortunately; ‘Back In Black’ rings out and road crew scurry onstage to begin breaking down equipment, as the starry-eyed crowd begin to disperse.

So yes, the Great British Weather struck once again, resulting in an admittedly rather damp evening which did absolutely nothing to dampen the crowd’s enthusiasm – or that of the bands, for that matter. Both performances were warm and personable, not to mention highly enjoyable. When the music is that good…well, the rain can just get stuffed really, can’t it?

Review by Melanie Black

 

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