Review by Peter Rea
The band is ready. Lead singer Bradford Cox talks over the Foals tune that can still be heard and amusingly comments on the audiences startling red faces – the result of heavy backlighting. Technical difficulties allow him to break the ice with his natural wit as he urges the crowd to get involved and not just stare at their shoes.
They start with ‘60 Cycle Hum’, written partly during the sound check in Glasgow and finished in time for Marc Riley’s 6 music radio show, a few hours earlier. Appropriately enough it sounds distinctly Mancunian, with Joy Division-esque baseline and chords, surprising the naval gazers into wanting to dance a little.
‘Desire Lines’ follows, from the latest album Halcyon Digest. Bassist Josh Fauver takes a bow from centre stage and the responding applause comes as though they’ve finished an epic set already. The tempo remains uplifting, as they flow into a faster version of Cryptograms’ ‘Hazel St.’, and then return to new material with ‘Don’t Cry’.
Bradford cuts a slight figure, his arms as thin as his guitar neck. The Atlas Sound front man appears to relish the spontaneous, and happily engages with a persistent heckler, who requests a song that they don’t want to sing… but might do… but decide not to.
They brilliantly cover Manchester post-punk band Magazine with ‘The Light Pours Out Of Me’, my pre-misconceptions of hearing a run through of their latest and most accessible LP are completely unfounded. They skip between their 4 albums and EPs, keeping us on our toes and making us laugh in between.
With the promise of “Magic” they play ‘Memory Boy’, and then introduce some psychedelia with ‘Intro’ and ‘Cryptograms’. A pineapple appears on the amp and it all goes a little trippy. ‘Nothing Ever Happens’ has the place rocking before the soothing, chilled out genius that is ‘Helicopter’.
An epic version of ‘He Would Have Laughed’ brings us to the walk off stage and come back again shenanigans, after which they play more early material (circa 2007/08) to the pineapple with the mic. cord wrapped around Josh’s neck. The enthralling and unpredictable ride ends leaving the sell out crowd buzzing from what they have just witnessed.