Pumped Up Kids -Live review of Foster the People, O2 Brixton Academy, London, Saturday 28th April 2012

Posted: May 3, 2012 in Indie, Pop, Psychedelic Pop
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Pumped Up Kids -Live review of Foster the People, O2 Brixton Academy, London, Saturday 28th April 2012

Foster the People perform an exciting set at London's O2 Brixton Academy, Saturday 28th April 2012

Foster the People perform an exciting set at London’s O2 Brixton Academy, Saturday 28th April 2012

A lively excited and young crowd greeted the arrival of American hipsters Foster the People. This is a group whose reputation and growing acclaim has been spread by word of mouth from their live performances so expectations were high and so were the Brixton chat levels.

Prior to FTP, though, the performance from support act Mini-Mansions had that relaxed west coast vibe going on mixed –up with elements of melodic psychedelia and strong prog rock overtures. Their rendition of “Heart of Glass” was quite the most original version I have ever heard. It was played at slow tempo sounding like a bit like a funerary chant.

Foster the People commenced with the gloriously snappy rhythm of “Houdini” that recalled elements of 80’s Talking Heads offshoot The Tom Tom Club . There was no need to work up the young crowd. They were already way ahead of the band in the enthusiasm stakes. The balcony was on its feet from the first bar being played. The band continued the tradition of having individual drums on stage for the non-drumming members to bash. Crude, but effective especially for numbers “Miss You” and “Life on the Nickel” with high tempo beats. It does add power to the gig and that feeling is conveyed to the audience.

Party Atmosphere at Foster the People gig, O2 Brixton Academy, London, Saturday 28th April 2012

Party Atmosphere at Foster the People gig, O2 Brixton Academy, London, Saturday 28th April 2012

 

The song “Love” with its prominent echoing vocals seemed to owe much to the Mamas and the Papas style of sunshine pop and I felt the presence of Beach Boys influence in “I Would Do Anything for You”.  The songs on the setlist were interlinked by mini prog rock instrumentals.

Other impressive moments were the Mark Foster’s dramatic vocal of the interpretation of the lyrics of “Broken Jaw” coupled with the electro indie disco vibe, the latinesque piano rhythms on “Call it What You Want” and the pumping psychedelic danceable pop of “Colour On The Walls”.  There was some really wild dancing by the crowd through the gig with arms flaying wildly yet rhythmically. The party was full on and reached its dance climax with “Helena Beat”, whose intro curiously resembled Spandau Ballet’s “The Freeze”. Predictably, “Pump Up Kicks” – a song with a catchy hook but creepy lyrics was left to the end and extended into an adapted techno section.

Party time with Foster The People at O2 Brixton Academy, London, Saturday 28th April 2009

Party time with Foster The People at O2 Brixton Academy, London, Saturday 28th April 2009

 

The sell-out gig could not be faulted for youthful enthusiasm and atmosphere but at times the sound production threatened to overwhelm the vocals. This effect has often been noticed at Brixton. Promising up and coming bands take an acoustic note. A special mention must also be made of the lighting. The lighting designer for the set should congratulated for producing perfectly balanced pin sharp primary colours that according with the set and the mood of each song which, in my view, made the show. There was even a glittery confetti shower at the end.  If the band produces more exciting shows like this, they will definitely foster a growing fan base.

 

Sharp lighting at the Foster the People gig, O2 Brixton Academy, London, Saturday 28th April 2012

Sharp lighting at the Foster the People gig, O2 Brixton Academy, London, Saturday 28th April 2012

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