Foals: The Kazimier, Liverpool

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Mathletics in every sense for Samizdat‘s fourth Birthday Party.


No way have you run from work to here in under four minutes,’ says Dave. Sean simultaneously screws up his chin, nose and eyes into a ball of flesh to signify agreement.
Giving credence to my Olympic Athlete status by way of text messages sent from when leaving Old Hall Street to arriving at The Kazimier proves fruitless – their body language suggests they may as well be holding placards saying ‘PETE, YOU MASSIVE BULLSHITTER,’ such is their complete derision at my pegging it ability.
Well lids, newsflash – I almost out ran A CAR. Yes, one of those things with wheels and shit. And this one was a taxi cab meaning it very probably took a short cut from The Philharmonic to Kazimier while I – directionless and lacking in spatial awareness – most probably went the wrong way round in exiting Gil Scott-Heron to reach the cobbled streets of Wolstenholme Square, just as Revo and Pippa alight their black ride.
Take that nits. Put me and a car on a racetrack and the wheeled wonder will win, but only just.
Another person that gives good circuit is Yannis Philippakis. The 24-year-old singer and guitarist of Foals can leg it round any given venue – including that of a gigantic shopping centre ala Butlins in Minehead while staging All Tomorrow’s Parties – and make it back to the stage in time for the final triumphant chorus of calling card Two Steps Twice, quicker than you can say Yannis Philippakis.
Yes, Philippakis is a mini Trojan, (there’s no tenuous Trojan Horse/Foals metaphor coming up, so you can relax), and his band are pretty damn Herculean. In a year where the xx, Yeasayer, The Bronx, These New Puritans, Besnard Lakes and LCD Soundsystem have dusted down these ears with something approaching magical, no other band have come close to WOWING the way Foals do with their sheer physicality of performance.
They may appear stereotypically sinewy indie boys clobbered up in their favourite vintage threads, but their athleticism and attention to might is nothing short of gladitorial.
Words on these pages have been waxed on the dexterity of Jack Bevan but he really is a beast, coupled with Walter Gervers‘ mixed grill bass hooks and Jimmy Smith‘s jabbing, stabbing, snapping guitar picks culminate in a vehicle designed to not just batter, but burst the stuffing out of a punchbag.

Foals: Miami (taken from new record Total Life Forever)
It’s little surprise when Philippakis informs us he feels nausus after leaping 20 feet off a speaker stack and into the crowd before landing backwards onto his neck and lower skull during a particularly frenetic Electric Bloom. Risk Assessments, bah, this is rock and roll in its purest form – and you better not get in the way.
Later, during the aforementioned Kazimier lap, no-ones daring to get in his way as he races, guitar in tow, round the staircase, top bar balcony, round another flight of steps to the mezzanine level, up to the absinthe bar before releasing his path to the stage is dead, and in a state of panic decides to limber through another set of staircase railings before jumping eight-feet down to the floor and hurtles head first through the crowd and back to where he began. Knackered. Gasping.
But there’s a rounded whole to Foals. Like the decorative and all out stunning four-colour display of wall flowers gracing the Kazimier’s stage balcony up yonder, the Oxford lot are intent on showcasing another side on new album, Total Life Forever – it’s not just jogpopindieping that they’ve mastered there’s a slower, deeper yearning; Spanish Sahara is a tidal wave of gradual, crashing intensity while Alabaster layers their characteristic patter with Edwin Congreave‘s fuggy synths.
If there’s a criticism, then it’s Philippakis’ sucked through a hoover backwards drone which at times either can’t keep up with the sounds unfolding or simply can’t outstretch to those higher notes and he’s greatly helped when Team Foals combine with three-part harmonies. Witness The French Open in full ‘racquets and gadgets‘ mode.
But criticisms are slight, one day Getintothis will stop laying on the hyperbole to nights at The Kazimier – let’s hope that day is my last run round the block.
Foals setlist:
1. Total Life Forever
2. Cassius
3. Olympic Airways
4. Blue Blood
5. This Orient
6. Balloons
7. Miami
8. Alabaster
9. Spanish Sahara
10. Red Socks Pugie
11. Electric Bloom
Encore:
12. The French Open
13. Two Steps, Twice

Yannis speaker leaping during Electric Bloom – listen out for the thud when he lands back on the stage.

Foals: Spanish Sahara live at The Kazimier
Getintothis review Foals at Academy, Liverpool 2008

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