Gig Review: Foals (O2 Academy)


Picking the perfect support band is tricky - they need to be entertaining, but not so good that the headliners suffer in comparison.

It’s a quandary the members of Oxford five-piece Foals may well have been contemplating when watching ‘Cage The Elephant’ warm up for them at their recent gig at Glasgow’s O2 Academy.

Maybe nobody told the US garage rockers that they weren’t the main event - lead singer Matt Shultz certainly didn’t seem to be holding anything back as he won over even the most suspicious indie-kid present with his particular brand of Stooges-inspired punk.

Bare-chested, he ended the set by negotiating his way into the middle of the venue on audience members’ upturned hands, before crowd surfing back to the stage.

It’s a hard act to follow and the contrast with the more lugubrious Foals’ leader Yannis Philippakis couldn’t be starker.

It’s remarkable how his band have quickly become so successful, largely thanks to their third album Holy Fire which is as accessible as they come, while retaining the band’s intellectual edge.

It’s the songs from that album that fair best in such a large venue, where subtleties are washed away in the mix - their calling card song ‘Inhaler’, in particular, sounds immense.

But there’s just too much nondescript filler on show, played out while an impressive laser show zaps coloured beams around the venue.

As a spectacle it’s welcome, but it can’t shift the the feeling that Foals were second best on the night.