by / November 28th, 2008 /

Live: Foals, The Ambassador, Dublin

After a year of extensive touring it’s with assured confidence and art-house arrogance that Foals start the show with the clanging instrumental ‘XXXX’, attacking with a wall of sound. Performing their pre-album singles and tracks from debut Antidotes, the five-piece from Oxford play these complex angular math rock numbers with an epic ferocity that had not been captured in their recordings.

Yannis Philippakis does a fair amount of self indulging; playing his guitar between his legs and over his head, manically beating a tom drum to death, playing from the top of an amp stack and throwing himself in to the crowd. It’s these jittery and erratic characteristics that make him a mesmerising front man.

The band play with an infectious energy. Edwin Congreave on keyboards provides essential electronic ambience to the choppy guitar lines and meticulous riffery of Philippakis and Jimmy Smith. Percussion is integral to Foals, Jack Bevan is riveting on drums and Walter Gervers provides some pulsing bass. Overall the sound is the best The Ambassador has ever achieved.

There’s not much banter between songs, instead they tune guitars and tinker away on motifs which form into convulsive freak outs, played with precision and intent. The intention being to get the crowd as frenzied as possible before launching into the funky dance punk of ‘Mathlethics’, ‘Balloons’, ‘Cassius’, etc. ‘Electric Bloom’ is the hands in the air, singalong anthem of the night, ‘It’s just another hospital’.

The beer taps are off in The Ambassador, which is probably as well as the vast majority of the crowd could not be served by any bar person with a social conscience or an establishment looking to hold on to its liquor licence. Hooched up on ‘minerals’ there’s barely a minute without spindly legs and arms flaying on a crowd surf. The electric atmosphere adds to a sensational show. It’s seems to a first gig for many and these good humoured revellers make for some sanguine teen angst.

Photos by Claire Weir

  • JoC

    those photos are fabulous!
    i heart yannis!

  • Foals were very impressive again, though it’s pretty much the exact same show time and time again. That drummer really comes into his own onstage; amazing.

    Sound was a typical ambassador mess upstairs – bassy rumbling drowned out most of the ambience and reverby elements of the band, the key melodies and beats being audible but all the subtlies were lost. Upstairs did have a bar though as it was 18+

  • Alan Reilly

    No way! I was parched. I was wondering where everyone else was. Great sound though, well, great for The Ambassador.

  • David

    It was my first time seeing them and I was amazed. It was great to finally see them because I was a fan for a long time. I had a brilliant time and I got the setlist. :]

  • I really enjoyed the gig. I thought they played really well again and there was a serious energy to the room last night. Granted, I was pissed off when we arrived just as they were starting and we were told we had to go into the ground floor because the balcony was full. I’d still have rathered been able to have a drink while I watched them, but much as I despise them for their ridiculous hairstyles and general irritating trendiness, it was refreshing to be at a gig where that many people were having the absolute time of their young lives.

    I remember those days…

  • I thought the gig was good but The Academy a couple of months back was way way better for two reasons; 1. The sound was alot better and 2.It was smaller and more intimate and I could see the band from nearly anywhere in the place.
    Did you know they played The Boom Boom Room across the road less than a year ago to ten people?