Reviewed on Tuesday July 29
Their music may split audiences but, love or hate, few would dispute that Foster The People have a way with a catchy chorus. On the strength of this performance, here’s another indisputable fact: they put on a heck of a show.
Local band Gang Of Youths kicked off the night with their brand of quiet-verse-loud-chorus rock and the sort of ferocious energy that only a band with four guitars can produce. Ultimately though, they were completely shown up by the songcraft and effortless showmanship of Mark Foster and the five guys accompanying him.
Foster The People’s name may hint at democracy, but don’t be fooled. It’s all about the band’s frontman and main songwriter. Diminutive and boyishly handsome, wearing a patterned short-sleeved shirt and dark slacks, he held the crowd under his spell from the second the lights come up and we heard the buzz synths and his striking falsetto on opener ‘Helena Beat’. The broad appeal of the LA-based group should be noted – there were 12-year-old school kids and middle-aged women. All eyes were drawn to Foster.
Yet stage presence is nothing without material. The setlist was brilliantly compiled – from the piano and “Ooh-oohs” on ‘Houdini’ to getting the whole theatre bouncing during ‘Call It What You Want’ and grooving to the psychedelic dance of ‘Best Friend’.
It built towards the surprise highlight of the night, ‘A Beginner’s Guide To Destroying The Moon’, which demonstrated that there is much more to the band than lightweight riffs and sing-along hooks. “Now I’m staring at the moon / Wondering why the bottom fell out … Open your eyes, and share this burden somehow”.
Prior to their encore, in ‘Miss You’, Foster shared how he would, “Smile at the chance to see you again”. It’s exactly what I’m doing now. It was as entertaining a show as I’ve seen all year.