Last week, my favourite band, Foals, were playing a special gig at XOYO in association with NME. To get tickets you had to register to be entered into a ballot to get tickets ahead of the show which, of course I entered…but unsuccessfully. So remaining sad for about a day, then remembering I was seeing them at the Albert Hall in a few months anyway, I forgot all about it. So a week passed and it just so happened that I had to be attending a birthday at The Shoreditch Butchery above XOYO on the 7th February. It wasn’t until I got there and saw the signs plastered outside, that it was the night of the show so I set a mission for the evening, to get into the gig. After politely asking the door staff if we could buy-have wrist bands for the show a couple of times and being declined on both occasions, I realised that there was no way in without sneaking in… So that’s exactly what we did. A quick flash of a band-less wrist to the distracted bouncers, we ran downstairs just as the set started.
Kicking off with the Prelude for their latest album Holy Fire, they cracked on with a number of tracks from their first two albums including, Total Life Forever, Blue Blood, Ballons and one of my favourite songs of all time, Spanish Sahara. The energy was flying and Yannis kept amping up the crowd by diving in for a bit of crowd surfing, even crossing the floor and getting up on the bar with his guitar and swigging a pint handed to him by the barman. Doing the classic leave the stage and the crowd wanting more act, Foals re-emerged after their main set for a short encore of recent single Inhaler and of course finishing, as they always do on Two Steps Twice. Unexpectabley getting to see your favourite band on a work night, for free… Priceless!
Following a little bit of Thursday night Foals action, I headed on down for round two on Monday night where they were playing a free gig at Rough Trade East. With only about 150 people in the crowd and the band giving off the sentiment that they didn’t really want to be there, they banged out three tracks from Holy Fire and Spanish Sahara with ease and then departed the stage. A short but sweet performance that brightened up my snowy Monday.
The 11th February 2013 is a day I’ve been waiting for, for a long, long time. Finally, one of my favourite bands, Foals, will be releasing their third (and let’s hope best yet) album, Holy Fire. I’ve already had the track, My Number, on repeat solidly for the past week and I’m hoping that the rest of the album is going to follow suit. After seeing Foals for the firs time at Glastonbury 2010, not long after they released their second album, Total Life Forever, I fell in love. That album has to be my most played album throughout 2011 and possibly even 2012 and I’m still not sick of it, with Spanish Sahara coming in at one of my favourite songs of all time. My Number appears to be true to the sounds of the second album, although being my favourite so far, you can’t fault Antidotes with songs like Hummer and Cassius taking me back to my uni days. One of my favourite nights of 2011 was seeing Foals at Warehouse Project in Manchester the eve before New Year’s Eve and they also managed to take the sting out of the Glasto blues the week after at Wireless festival where Pulp headlined. Roll March 28th when I shall be seeing them again at The Royal Albert Hall and hurry up 11th Feb, as I’m dying for my dose from Yannis and co.
One of my favourite bands undoubtedly is, The Black Keys. They played a couple of shows at The O2 this week and I managed to get my hands on a few standing tickets for their first London night. Supporting them were another band I’ve got a soft spot for, but I only caught the last couple of songs from their set as we were running late. This was the third time I’d seen The Black Keys play this year with a smaller show at Ally Pally in March and for their Friday night headline shot at Coachella. Although I’d have to say this was my least favourite time, they still put on a wicked show, pulling out some of the favourites from a selection of their seven albums. They opened with the song that probably took them into the mainstream limelight, Howlin’ For You from their 2010 album Brothers, whilst pulling out songs from Attack & Release and their most recent, El Camino. Hearing Your Touch from their 2006 album, Magic Potion, was probably one of my highlights. Being right down at the front meant that we came out drenched in what we hoped was beer (but you never know!) none the less, we left the arena soggy and sweaty but on a high and straight into the bar next door where they had the album on and carried on dancing. The duo are set to release their eighth album later on this year… and I can’t wait!
On a cold Wednesday evening in November we went down to The Kings College site just off the strand int he hope that some sunny California girls could brighten up our evening. Haim consist of three sisters with a west coast sound that’s oh-so nu-folk-nineties. They are one of my favourite musical things from 2012 because they come from a movement of bands like Tribes, Palma Violets, Savages and Pond, who for the first time in a decade, have all threatened to show up everyone who had come before them. When I first heard their debut song, Forever, it instantly sent me straight back to my memories of California, where I was earlier on the year for Coachella, so I was hoping their show would do the same. True to the sounds heard on their EP, these girls made us forget about the bitter cold outside and got us rocking out and our heads shaking and forget about she bangs the drums, it was all about they bang the drums as they finished off with each of them pounding in unison while the crowd went wild. They’ve taken girl power to the next level and are certainly ones to watch in 2013. Now all that’s left to do is sit back and wait for them to release their album and catch them on the festival circuit next year, which I’ve no doubt that they’ll rock just as hard, if not harder, then they did at this gig.