Music by Scott Martin

SM Blog

5/14/2013: Foals at House of Blues


I was fortunate to see several live shows in 2013. This is the third of several posts about my experiences. It’s not a review (there are undoubtedly plenty of those out there) – it’s just my recollection.

My friend Ray has been a welcome pipeline for bringing new music to my attention. He has turned me on to Tegan and Sara, TV on the Radio, Arctic Monkeys, Arcade Fire, and a host of other bands that I might have missed otherwise. Foals is in that category as well.

I wasn’t really enamored with the first Foals album I listened to (Total Life Forever). It seemed plodding and too atmospheric for my tastes. After a couple listens I moved on, and it never really found any heavy rotation on my listening devices. But their following record Holy Fire was a different story.

I find Holy Fire to be atmospheric and dense, full of layers of synthy plucks and pads and repeating guitar motifs swamped in delay. But under it all is a raunchy, distorted rock album, which I’m always happy to listen to. So when I found out they were coming to Cleveland (on a Tuesday? Why? Between other, more legitimate tour stops? I don’t care, Tuesday is a good night for me) I nabbed tickets for Hellpellet, Ray and I.

The House of Blues didn’t get packed, but for a Tuesday night there was a pretty good crowd. The first act was an L.A.-based band called Blondfire, and they delivered a fun set of pop-rock songs that everyone seemed to enjoy. They were also giving away copies of their EP in the lobby, and I give them points for doing that. As a result of adding it to my library, I’ve listened to it a number of times – I might have otherwise totally forgotten how they sounded.


The second opener was Surfer Blood, and I really liked their set as well. They sounded kind of like Roy Orbison partying with Weezer, and the lead singer’s performance was lots of fun – he waded into the crowd for a bit, and there were occasions when he soloed and seemed like he was about ready to pop. I liked the enthusiasm they showed.

After a long instrumental intro, Foals took the stage and delivered a solid set of tunes divided almost evenly between Holy Fire, Total Life Forever and Antidotes. The sound was great, and they really managed to deliver a concert experience that was true to the record and still high-energy.


Here’s a clip of Foals performing “My Number”:

It has convinced me that I need to go back and give Total Life Forever another listen. That’s the beauty of seeing a live band that does such a great job performing.