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- Foals »
It’s a testament to the appeal of Foals that they’re back in Cardiff again. They played here just over two weeks ago and have managed to fill the bottom floor of the venue they played at then, the Welsh capital’s wonderful Clwb Ifor Bach.
Packed away in a corner, in front of the mixing decks (which is normally full of revellers dancing to the likes of Stevie Wonder), the five-piece seem rather pleased that they’ve again managed to pull another decent crowd, as frontman Yannis acknowledges as he takes the stage: “It’s nice to see so many familiar faces.”
The weird layout of the floor is made even stranger by the fact that Yannis and company are set up to face each other. It gives the impression of overseeing a practise session in some noise-battered warehouse somewhere in semi-apocalyptic urban Britain. It’s an odd outlook and proof that Foals aren’t going to be preaching to any rock stereotypes. I likey_.
As the Oxfordians lay out new single ‘Hummer’ there are the first signs of movement from the thus-far dormant crowd. The frazzled beats certainly affect the band members, who stagger and bounce around the floor as drilling guitars and Casio inflections mount the walls of the room. Guitarist/keyboardist Jimmy is bent double as ‘Balloons’ mushrooms into life. After that, ‘Two Steps Twice’ is greeted with roars of familiarity as its so-sharp-you-cut-dress-like-Ari-Gold-to-it hook seeps from the strings of the Foals’ guitars – by now the crowd has moved from semi-active to full-on shuffled dancing.
The steps of the bottom floor of Clwb mean that the crowd rises on various layers as you get further away from the band. It’s a weird amphitheatre effect, and the lack of a stage means that most of us can only see the back of a man with a big handycam thing’s head and the arms of the Cardiff U16 Girls Foals Fan Club waving around in front of Yannis and Walter’s faces. Yannis’s guitar head, with its missing chiselled ‘T’ shape, wafts around and, as ‘Mathletics’ (“It’s about squares”) draws to an end, the girls who’ve been throwing themselves about at the front wander into the middle of the stage and start bobbing. And do Foals mind? They’re too busy squeezing the last shards of squeaking treble out of their guitars. If they’re not careful someone will lose an eye.
They may look far too young to be making the kind of atmosphere-shattering techno-guitar pop that’s probably going to dominate the hip parade for months to come, but that doesn’t matter one jot. As the great Cosmo Kramer, or at least Foals’ MySpace page, might say: “giddy up!”
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