An eye on London: Foals @ Alexandra Palace

Once a Foal, always a Foal

Review by Sigrid Huber

It’s a tricky task to see the “second” concert of two concerts in a row. You’ve seen the pictures. You’ve read the reviews. You’ve listened to the set list. Its even trickier when the band you are going to see is literally your favourite band. Full stop.
Headlining Alexandra Palace is an unofficial accolade for every band, especially for British bands. With two sold out shows in one weekend it is fair to say that this a pretty official mark of just how big Foals are at the moment.  It was like heading to a football match in London on a Saturday as the fans streamed towards Alexandra Palace. The tubes got more and more crowded and the number of band shirts and rosy cheeks increased by the metre.
The actual real palace is located on a hill with a ridiculously beautiful view over the city (we have to admit it was a pretty good move to combine a Valentines Day concert with this venue). So we braved the cold and hiked up there, talking about the obvious “best Foals concerts ever…so far”. The last time I saw the lovely chaps from Oxford, was 2010 in Vienna’s very own Flex, with what felt like 500 other guests.
It just goes to show how unreal their development over the last few years has been as they were about to play in front of over 10,000, for the 2nd night in a row. The entrance hall impresses every time: massive golden mirrors, lots of marble and chandeliers, which never fail to leave you in a state of awe, regardless of how often you have been there before.
When a band plays at such an outstanding venue they usually get it right and start with a damn good support band. They hit the nail on the head this time with Cage the Elephant. Probably one of the most energetic shows I have ever seen as singer Matthew Schultz started crowd surfing during the second song of their set after the crowd lost their temper as the first song played. I never thought a guy would be able to rock white jeans the way Mr. Schultz did (2006 generation  Johnny Borrell aside). Ain’t no Rest for the wicked was highly awaited but definitely not needed to inflame anyone  – “No I cant slow down, I cant hold back.”

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Foals have been embracing their newly found love for laser visuals and it was no different this time as were hypnotised by a provocatively long prelude accompanied by the song of the same name as the band teased their way onto the stage. Little “Ally Pally” needed about 2 songs to change its mood from tension to party and once My Number started all of the 10,400 people basically turned into one dancing mob.
Foals are no strangers to playing in front of large crowds anymore, and they knew exactly how to please.You could tell that they were as excited as every single one of the audience. Lead singer Yannis is not known being a talkative fellow, but he still took several opportunities to tell the audience how “fucking amazing” this night was. If there are two words that sum up the night, fucking amazing certainly hits the spot.
The Foals fans worked just as well with the band as the members themselves at this gig. It took guitarist Jimmy one “pointing finger to the mouth” move to quieten down the thousands as they immediately prepared themselves to start singing the first line of Spanish Sahara.
Yannis may not be the biggest friend of long verbal exchanges but he truly does like to mingle with the crowd. He took several bathes in the throngs and the atmosphere in the palace seemed like it was fit to burst until the encore. True Foals lovers had been prepared because if there is one general Foals law – never end a show without a massive mosh pit.  So off they went with no holds barred as they started the first chords of Two Steps twice and left the stage with a clamourous crowd singing the chorus.
Thank you very much Foals, you know how to perform, and you remain my favourite band, oh yes you do.