Bodily ailments and a culture shock to the slums of San Francisco's notorious Tenderloin district didn't stop U.K. five-piece Foals from slamming an electric set on the stage of indie nightclub Popscene during the debut of Club NME in San Francisco.
The Oxford ensemble stopped by in a first of a seven-date swing through North America, and the fans waiting outside the club before doors were not disappointed. Splicing a healthy dose of dance punk, prog rock, and synth heartbeats together, the band primarily focused on showcasing their stuff off new album Antidotes, a furious and rhythmic fury of seductive bass and choice lyrics coupled together. Live, tracks like "The French Open" encompassed a more jam-band feel live, drummer and frontman Yannis Philippakis rocking back and forth frantic to his math rock-oriented beats. "Heavy Water" carried a more somber and relaxed air, while single "Cassius" caused a raucous commotion in the front rows in response to the jagged guitar riffs that were dancing with the timekeeping of impeccable drums.
"We are the epitome of professionalism," said Philippakis between songs, seemingly being cheeky but also serious. The guys sprinkled in small quips about finding themselves "in the best district ever [the Tenderloin]" and describing the bum pee they walked around, as well as their love of San Francisco over New York ("their applause has nothing on you guys"). Post-show, the guitarist wobbled around on crutches due to an undisclosed injury; my respect for the band only grew after that. If anything, the swarm at the merch booth post-show only shows their growing power on the indie circuit.