Foals @ SWG3, Glasgow, 18 Jun
Despite stage banter fraught with cheesy one-liners, Foals prove they've still got it with their 17-strong setlist taking in highlights across their back catalogue
"This song’s called Two Steps, Twice, bitches!"
This is the final of many cringeworthy statements made by Foals’ frontman Yannis Philippakis throughout the course of the Oxfordshire band’s sold out Glasgow date at SWG3’s outdoor Galvanizers Yard. Others include: "We’re gonna have some right good craic, Glasgow – it’s gonna be a ripper", "This one’s got a real nasty-arse bassline; I wanna see everyone skankin’ to this", "You up for a little spicy number?", "It’s Tuesday isn’t it? Well, Tuesday can go fuck itself", "You guys are a fucking bad ass crowd", "You got the moves Glasgow! We’re gonna play some rock songs now… We’ve got some real juicy ones", "Right, you ready for another banger?" and "We’re gonna play a couple more – let’s make it real spicy!"
Awkward throwaway one-liners aside, tonight Foals remind us just how massive they can sound, how complicated many of their song structures are, how excellent their percussion section is, and just how many of those straight-up bangers they actually have.
It's a bit of a slow start from the crowd, with a surreally sombre atmosphere during main support Yak’s set, but that's probably down to the rain which dominates the interval between Yak and Foals’ arrival on stage, and doesn't go off until three tracks in. "Has the rain stopped?" Philippakis asks, met with a huge cheer of relief from the crowd, and it seems we have a show on our hands.
An incredibly tight unit, Foals barely put a foot out of line throughout their 17-strong setlist. The sextet give almost-equal billing to highlights from past albums Antidotes (Olympic Airways, Red Socks Pugie), Total Life Forever (Black Gold, Spanish Sahara), Holy Fire (My Number, Providence, Inhaler) and What Went Down (Mountain at My Gates, Snake Oil, What Went Down). The greatest focus goes to tracks from March’s Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 1, with the late-in-the-set trio of Exits, In Degrees and White Onions highlighting just how strong their latest effort is.
Despite Philippakis clearly suffering from a wrist injury on his guitar-strumming arm (he’s wearing a support bandage tonight), it doesn’t stop him from thrashing out wildly in front of his amp, or getting lost in the crowd, which he does a few times throughout the evening. He goes completely out of view during main set closer Inhaler, with only the direction of several phones raised aloft heads implying his whereabouts. Returning to the stage he demands that "everyone in this fucking place get down on the ground", with all but a few obeying, and the pre-jump crouch lasts FOREVER, a collective groan reverberating around us as the track finally drops and we're permitted to be upright once again.
Returning for a double whammy encore of What Went Down and Two Steps, Twice, Foals cement the fact that they've more than still got it, and when they bang they bang hard (yes, that’s really us saying that and not another quote from Foals’ dear leader). If, of course, for any reason music doesn’t work out for Yannis we also now know there’s a career waiting for him down the shows running the waltzers. Scream if you wanna go faster!