Photo by Erik Kabik

Foals Moves Mountains and Surfs Crowds

Brooklyn Bowl, April 24

Full disclosure: I missed most of Foals’ set. I arrived at Brooklyn Bowl in time to hear the last five songs of the band’s set, three of which—“Mountain at My Gates,” “Inhaler” and “What Went Down”—are my favorites. So you should bear that in mind when you see the four-star review at the end of this piece: It’s possible that the eight or nine song that preceded those weren’t mind-blowing, chest-pounding tributes to the enduring power of rock and roll. I doubt it, but it’s possible.

By the time I got there, Foals had completely won the crowd. Throngs of fans pushed against the stage, drunk on the band’s propulsive sound. They supported the band both figuratively and literally: over the course of three songs I saw frontman Yannis Philippakis take no less than four stage dives, one of them while wearing a guitar. (And at one point, he even hopped off the stage to finish off someone’s beer.) The band was in championship form, veering from punk to prog to glam like a muscle car on a rain-slick street. And it says something for how beloved the band was on stage that night that when Philippakis announced “It’s my 30th birthday,” the crowd serenaded him with “Happy Birthday,” completely unprompted.

It was, in short, a festival set squeezed into a venue barely big enough to contain the shockwave. Foals gave Las Vegas their all, and thanked the city for a memorable evening. We should thank them for the same, and invite them back. At the very least, I’d like to see those first nine songs. ★★★★☆

Photos by Erik Kabik /