Review: Foals at O2 Guildhall, Southampton

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Fastly becoming one of the best live bands around, Foals stopped off in Southampton as part of their sold-out UK tour and The Edge luckily had a front row view of the folk rock quintet performing at their very finest.

Support act Real Lies, playing a few weeks after their debut record was released, had the task of opening proceedings with their electronic pop music, of which they did admirably with a notable audience reaction. Their song ‘Dab Housing’ obtained the greatest reaction, with its heavy synth influence.

Opening with the fast paced ‘Snake Oil’ and lead single ‘Mountain At My Gates’, Foals had the crowd in an early frenzy – with their notable heavy tone reverberating around the Guildhall brilliantly. Yannis Philippakis let his vocals and stage presence do the talking, even though he rarely spoke directly to the audience you could tell he had every single person in the palm of his hand throughout the night.

Crowd favourite ‘My Number’ was sandwiched in-between a few older tracks from the band’s back catalogue, with a varied setlist more-or-less equally split between their four studio albums. The setlist featured a few different genres too, catering for all, with some funky riffs standing out in ‘Providence’ – a personal highlight from the gig.

The aforementioned stage presence was shown explicitly during a relatively quieter string of tracks where the entire audience ended up sat on the floor at one point during the song ‘Late Night’. This was before, inevitably, the central areas exploded into a mosh pit as the tempo increased before drifting into the exceptional ‘Spanish Sahara’.

The mosh pits were relatively tame until Holy Fire’s ‘Inhaler’ devoured the venue with Yannis’ screams of ‘And I can’t get enough… space!’ providing a literal commentary on the exhilarating mayhem ensuing below him. During final song ‘Two Steps, Twice’ even he couldn’t stay out of the action, climbing into the crowd for the explosive finale to an incredible gig.

I’ve been to the Guildhall a few times and there is a slight reputation for a slight sound quality issue, but Foals blew that notion out of the water with an excellent performance that rubber stamped their live credentials – a must see.

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Muse-worshiping, F1-career-aiming Aeronautics student.

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