Concert Review: Foals Auckland Town Hall July 12, 2019

Six years after they first raised the roof, and annoyed security, Foals returned to Auckland’s Town Hall to make some noise.

Local synth-poppers Daffodils got the evening started (tonight’s show will feature Warpaint in the opening slot), and the young quartet did a fine job of warming up the crowd.

Then shortly after 9pm, the lights went down and the stage was filled with red light and smoke as Foals took the stage.

There has been one significant change within the band since they were last here, founding bass player Walter Gervers left the group during the making of the latest album, Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost, to be replaced, at least for touring purposes, by Jeremy Pritchard.

The remainder of the band consists of drummer Jack Beven, guitarist Jimmy Smith, Edwin Congreave on keys and frontman Yannis Philippakis who sings and plays guitar. An additional percussionist was also on stage from time to time.

As the red smoke cleared and a synth chord droned out of the speakers, a female robotic voice intoned, “Everything not saved will be lost”, and the band got things rolling with On The Luna, from the new album.

The crowd was immediately connected with the band, cheering as the first few notes of Mountain At My Gates leaked from the stage.

“It’s good to be back”, exclaimed a breathless Yannis after the first two numbers.

This was followed by a growing riff that became Snake Oil, from 2015’s What Went Down.

After the tune’s dramatic ending, Yannis apologized for taking six years to return then repaid the debt with Olympic Airways, the crowd, all-in, clapping the intro in and singing “Dis-A-Pear!” along with Philippakis.

Up next was fan fave My Number, a perky synth-pop gem from Holy Fire.

The band has become masters of dynamics, bringing the crowd to a near frenzy, then letting them down with something cooler such as Sunday, with its chorus of, “It’s the end of the world and the birds are singing”, the expansive track managing to be both bleak and uplifting at the same time.

Yannis tested the waters during Providence with a little crowd surfing, standing triumphantly on top of outstretched arms, while the Zeppelin-like guitars wailed.

Then came the delicate ballad, Spanish Sahara.

“Now I’m going to get emotional”, I heard the woman in front of me comment to her friend.

It was that kind of show.

In the end, everyone was instructed to “get down”, literally, as the audience was directed to fall to the floor during set closer Inhaler.

Interestingly, for the encore, the band abandoned unreleased tune Black Bull, which they had been featuring, instead going back to their first album, Antidotes for Balloons.

Then it was back into the crowd during What Went Down…no balcony climbing tonight…and finally traditional closer Two Steps, Twice.

This is a band thathas grown by leaps and bounds since I first saw them at Laneway.

I managed to also see them at Austin City Limits Festival in Texas a couple of years ago and they mastered that festival crowd as well.

But here, at the Town Hall, it seems that Foals has found a home for themselves and their fans to commune. I doubt it will be another six years until we see them again.

Marty Duda

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Trevor Villers:



Foals set list:

  1. On The Luna
  2. Mountain At My Gates
  3. Snake Oil
  4. Olympic Airways
  5. My Number
  6. Black Gold
  7. Sunday
  8. Syrups
  9. Providence
  10. Spanish Sahara
  11. Red Socks Pugie
  12. Exits
  13. In Degrees
  14. White Onions
  15. Inhaler
  16. Balloons
  17. What Went Down
  18. Two Steps, Twice