Foals keep the weekend alive for a Monday night crowd

Foals at the Orpheum Theatre, 3/18/19

Photo by Sharon Steele

Little more than a week after the release of their fifth album, Foals kicked off their North American headlining tour in Vancouver. The show was held at one of the finest venues our city has to offer, the Orpheum Theatre. It provided a majestic setting for the Oxford-based alternative rock band, who appeared eager to show off their new songs. As they should be.

Their latest album, Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost, is a fresh and frenzied set of tracks that highlights the unique nature Foals brings to alternative rock. The album marks the first half of a two-piece project; the second half is due out in the fall.

The stage of the Orpheum was adorned with ferns, complimenting the aesthetic of the artwork on their latest release and adding an earthy feel to the performance. The massive red ferns on the backdrop and the mood-setting blue lighting made for a wonderfully picturesque presentation.

Photo by Sharon Steele

The band plowed into the set with the smashing new-album hit “On The Luna” before transitioning into the foot-stomping “Mountain At My Gates” off their previous album. The all-seated venue of the Orpheum was all-standing immediately as the show began and the numbers of the crowd became very apparent, many fans leaving their seats altogether to push forward into the aisles.

There was little time for small talk as the band packed 15 of their best into the hour-and-a-half performance. Frontman Yannis Philippakis, however, was sure to share his thanks to the Monday night crowd.

“Thank you so much for popping out tonight. It’s not lost on us that it’s a Monday, so uh, you know, I don’t know how well rock and roll works usually on Monday, but tonight it’s gonna definitely work.”

Photos: Foals | Orpheum Theatre
Photo by Sharon Steele

It certainly did, as the driven set erased any thoughts of Tuesday-morning jobs.

The lead single, “Exits,” off their latest came early in the set and was followed by their debut album single, “Olympic Airways.” Drummer Jack Bevan stood tall behind the kit to lead the crowd into the song with a clap. “My Number,” a song that brought the band to the attention of a whole new set of listeners six years ago, provided the most dance-worthy hit of the night. The band brought a special spin to the track with an extended outro that rolled seamlessly into “Black Gold” off their second album.

Mid-set standout “Spanish Sahara” brought a somber mood to the performance, but the crescendo introduced a feeling that struck deeper than anything else heard that evening. “Red Socks Pugie,” a gem off Foals debut, was an absolute delight, while the pre-encore closer, “Inhaler” reminded us how intense this band can really get.

“We absolutely fucking love playing here,” Philippakis said as they came back for the encore, “you guys have always been amazing to us.”

Foals capped off the night with two songs that many were eager to hear. “What Went Down” clearly had the livelier fans wishing for a mosh pit with its blasting beat and pulverizing chorus. And lastly, the band took us back one more time to their debut album with the song “Two Steps, Twice,” highlighting both the band’s technical abilities and their playfulness.

Photo by Sharon Steele