Foals Don’t Play Their Best Song, Spread Goodwill Anyway


Bowery Ballroom
Thursday, April 24

Their equipment is surly and uncooperative this evening, a symphony of feedback shrieks, disquieting rumbles, and short-circuit sneak-attacks. But the poor roadie tasked with managing this calamity keeps nearly being impaled by the point of a guitar as he darts around the stage, because the dudes in Foals are merrily thrashing around the stage anyway, their dance-punk racket a bit too dark and moody to call their demeanors “blissful,” exactly, but they are clearly really, really enjoying themselves. Even Mustache Saxophonist Guy is pounding his chest.

The drummer is a monster, sharp and bright and brutally precise; he makes me forget my severe annoyance. There’s nothing worse than a band with only one album still not playing your favorite song: The apex of Foals’ Sub Pop debut, Antidotes, is “Big Big Love (Fig. 2),” the quintet’s jittery funk finally undercut by some sweet melody. No time for that tonight: It’s all jittery and all funk, inspiring small dancefloor patches that nearly turn into moshpits. It’s enough to make you actually want to hear “House of Jealous Lovers” again. During the encore, his bank of pedals crapping out again, the lead guitarist just raises his axe over his head and dances around with it as the poor roadie tinkered away. It has the same effect.