Foals, O2 Academy, Birmingham 11/02/14

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Foals are a band met with near unanimous adoration. Their latest album, Holy Fire, saw them ascend from princes of indie status to become kings. The five-piece are, simply put, rock royalty. Their show at the O2 Academy in Birmingham last week showed just why they’re so loved by so many.
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Stellar performances from supports That Fucking Tank and Cage The Elephant left the crowd energised and raring to go, and when Foals did at last take to the stage, it was in front of a sea of adoring fans, flashing cameras, and waving arms. As if on cue: all hell broke loose. As the crowd battled their way closer to the stage and fought to stay on their feet, the group threw themselves into their performance.
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Opening with Holy Fire‘s ‘Prelude,’ the band performed a show that left their audience with some bruised, some bloody, some tear-stained, and some vomiting, but every last one of them happy. Early anthems such as ‘Hummer’ mixed with newer hits like ‘My Number,’ in a setlist that showcased a band at the very peak of their game. And the energy didn’t let down for an instant.
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‘Providence’ saw Foals play at their rawest and most raucous, leaving their crowd in awe and disarray, whilst favourites ‘Blue Blood’ and ‘Late Night’ had people singing along as if it were all that mattered. Chances are, in that moment, it was. Crammed in with a crowd, alongside friends and strangers, with an incredible band on stage, what more could anyone have asked for?
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‘Inhaler’ drew the set to a close, but it didn’t take long for the group to be beckoned back on stage for an encore. ‘The French Open’ proved the perfect sedgeway into ‘Two Steps Twice.’ As the audience threw every last bit of energy they had into the last of the music, frontman Yannis Philippakis climbed atop the venues balcony, only to be prevented from jumping into the sea of adoring fans below by a member of venue security.
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Despite the failed crowd-dive, the night still ended on a high. As the final chords faded away, people picked themselves and their belongings up off the floor, found their footing, their friends, and made their way out the door, it was with expressions of glee and exclamations of adoration. Foals are a band with the material and the energy to well and truly blow you away. Here’s to the next time.
Photographs by Jonathan Morgan