Gig Review: Foals

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Months ago I stalked the lengthy tour schedule of semi-alternative rock band Foals - a six-piece sonic crush of mine that I’d been far too keen to see in concert since the release of their latest LP ‘What Went Down’ mid-last year. 

A few cities down the list and BRATISLAVA jumped out at me. Having very little idea of what country this city is even in, a quick google search left me mind blown and a little too far over the moon. Bratislava is the capital of a nation that could otherwise be confused with the most notable of Greek delicacies: souvlaki. If that didn't promise a good time already, I also discovered that Slovakia borders two countries I was already planning to travel through around the date of the show. 

It was decided. I would make a very unexpected but exciting pitstop in Bratislava between the Budapest and Vienna legs of my Euro trip. With very little to go off, I was hopeful that this unusual city would delight. A second search on google brought attention to the main attraction of the city, a blue church, and that seemed strange and amusing enough for me. 

Whether B-town was a hit itself, I wasn't really concerned. I'd heard insane things about the band, from both travellers and friends from back home who had seen them before on tour in their own country or at Falls last year. I was very confident that the boys would do all they could to bust out a killer set, and in the weeks leading up to it, a profound tweet that I stumbled upon confirmed I was indeed in for one hell of a time. 

Up until that point I wasn’t sure why I even had twitter, or why I was browsing down my twitter feed when, at the time, the only person I followed was Obama. That day, however, I was glad. I liken this moment to a newfound understanding of the meaning of life, except twitter is not real-life and the prospect of seeing a group of British dudes crowd-surf and scull a bottle of Jack Daniels isn’t usually synonymous with becoming a better person physically, mentally and spiritually-speaking. 

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The energy in the old town's largest rock venue was palpable from the moment we walked in; the crowd consistently on the balls of their feet, hands flailing around in the air as they alternated between yelling and drunk-slurring the band's liberating lyrics. The couple in matching striped t’s rocking out behind us were seeing the band for the fourth time. Of course for the fourth time, they were thoroughly impressed. 

The set saw the band charge through some crowd favourites with serious guts and fervour before busting out some unexpected tracks too. Much to my dismay, a personal favourite ‘Birch Tree’ was left off the set-list. To be fair, as a slightly more emotional ballad among the group, it’s inclusion may have brought down the show's intensity and I would take a wild guess in saying that is not really what they were going for. 

And if you thought I was joking, the band’s front man did in fact crowd-surf, twice. He also sculled the bottle of JD in one swift gulp and, upon reflection, I might well have grown physically, mentally and spiritually because of it.

 

Words and photographs by Elli Webb

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