With a number of nods to ‘Best Live Act in the World Today’, UK indie rockers Foals are not only bankable they’re unmissable. Feted for their explosive riffs and debauchery, it came as no surprise that their Sydney sideshow was an impressive mix of rock revival and cathartic chaos.
Local trio Mansionair drew an early crowd with their whispery pop and airy percussion, while London lads Django Django warmed the crowd with a spirited 45 minute set. Playfully switching instruments as though they were toys, the guys frolicked beneath the glow of the stage lights as tracks like First Light and WOR reverberated round the Hordern.
Similarly to Django Django, Foals were fresh off the back of their Falls’ trifecta and showed no sign of a lingering party hangover. With a multitude of chart-toppers to open with, the boy’s chose to kick the night off with Snake Oil – a raucous rock anthem off their recent album What Went Down. Fueled by catchy bass licks and Yannis’ distinguishable screeches, the drum-heavy track was both an apt opener and a marker of the energy to expect.
“Thank you Sydney – it’s good to be back! We’ve missed ya!”
It wasn’t too long before Yannis was in full swing scissor-jumping and spinning across the stage. Unsurprisingly, My Number lured punters to the tips of their toes with its cheery tempo, catchy coos and simple lyrics. You realise just how young the crowd is when a kid towers atop two mates’ shoulders and chugs a ‘shoey’ during Last Night.
The first pluck of the morbid, yet beautifully melancholic Spanish Sahara garnered a zealous roar from the crowd while the girl beside me literally began to weep. Echoes of Yannis’ foggy whispers filled the room as the boys crawled to an explosive several minute-long crescendo.
Inhaler, a track that could rival a wall-shattering Rage Against the Machine classic, pushed punters to mosh hard and marked their fake finale, while What Went Down and Two Steps, Twice capped their vigorous set for real. Despite there being no mezzanine to hurl from, Yannis is never one to shy away from a cheeky crowd surf and dove head first during their two-part encore, losing both shoes to the pit.
Tight, energetic and magnetic, their set was an impressive amalgamation of erratic lights and bravado, underpinned by seamless musicianship. From jerky math rock and electronica, to dance pop and dessert rock, Foals are both fearless and masterful in their genre-defying approach to melodies. Four albums deep into their discography, the boys are still bringing the bangers and are thankfully showing no sign of slowing down.
Gallery: Foals, Django Django, Mansionair Sydney 2016 / Photos: Maria Boyadgis