On the most romantic of evenings, myself and several thousand music fans decided to eschew tradition and head to North London behemoth the Alexandra Palace. Dragging us away from a date with a tacky Italian restaurant was one of Britain’s finest bands of recent years, Foals.
The Oxford quintet’s latest album Holy Fire ushered in a new era for a band once considered the preserve of skinny art school kids. The jerky rhythms that permeated their debut album, Antidotes, have been replaced by screaming choruses and heavy riffs. This change in tact by the band has quickly accelerated their ascension – they headlined Latitude Festival last year, and are topping the bill at Bestival this summer.
Foals’ new found festival headliner status means they can comfortably sell out two nights at Alexandra Palace – and it’s a stage that doesn’t intimidate them. For their set, the band drew from all three of their albums, kicking off with early single Hummer, before lifting the crowd with My Number and Blue Blood.
The set was reined back in with the sombre Spanish Sahara, and as the opening bars came in the lights dimmed and lasers shot across the cavernous venue, creating one of the few intimate moments of the night. Ultimately it’s the heavier sounding tracks from their latest album that make the biggest impression – Inhaler invoked the most movement in the crowd and is a testament to the popularity of their new direction.
Foals ended the night with a nod to their past, reminiscing about when they supported Bloc Party at the same venue several years earlier and closing their set with a spectacular extended rework of Two Steps. Yet judging by tonight’s performance, they are firmly looking forward and should be playing even bigger stages in the not too distant future.