Foals at Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne, Monday July 15, 2019.
Words | Robbie Alexander
You know what never gets old? As the lights dim, the eyes widen. The murmurs and the sound of the plastic cups (filled with the scraping of the devil’s jock strap of lager) hitting the deck transform into an almost arousing roar of applause, whistles, “yewwwwwww”s and “f-ck yeah!”s.
Then, those infamous dark figures emerge and the applause heightens, as the lads of UK juggernaut Foals – fresh off the release of Part 1 of (two-part record) Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – end the three-year wait since they last graced our shores.
(As an aside: Fans weren’t wrong in identifying that the group had a Glastonbury-sized hole in their schedule, as the boys took to the English festival’s Park Stage last month in a secret set which saw the entire area forced to shut as fans descended in their thousands.)
First up: Warpaint. I did have a small reservation about the energy contrast between the support and main acts, but it only took a few steering melodies to leave me feeling a little red-faced. Bees exposes just how gifted and tight these four are – they’re most certainly destined for headliner status very soon.
Onto the fellas.
It’s so hard to allow a beloved group the chance to play new material – particularly, in Foals’ case, when as dramatic a change in energy and enthusiastic sing-a-long occurred (on a Monday night, I might add) as when Mountain At My Gates engulfed Margret Court, coming in at number two on the setlist.
As the group move through their set, it’s impossible not to acknowledge just how well each track emerges from the last. Splicing the future classic Syrups into Providence, and weaving a spicy little extended outro into a wonderfully-received Spanish Sahara, were ingenious moves.
Wrapping up the main set, frontman Yannis Philippakis covers the exterior of the standing room crowd during an extended, meaty bit of Inhaler. Making his way back to the to stage, he instructs the standing fans “to all get down”, reassuring everyone that it’s “gonna feel soooooo good” when it all boots off. And indeed it did, leaving us in eager anticipation for the heavier second act of the new album.
Two of the band’s (and undoubtedly two of indie-rock’s) most noteworthy tracks of the last decade make up the encore: What Went Down and Two Steps, Twice. Both feel like they’d been hit with a huge, steroid beef-up, with Yannis completing another crowd-walk during the former – now becoming a signature move for the 33-year-old.
Not even a sniff of the unreleased new material was had, but hopefully that means the boys have a shot at blowing us all away again in the very near future.
Header image by Holly Parker – see our full gallery here!