Foals' scuffle makes show unforgettable

Auckland Town Hall
October 5, 2013

Foals' frontman Yannis Philippakis got in a fight with security staff during the band's show at the Auckland Town Hall last night - not once, but twice.

The first scuffle occurred when the 1.7-metre singer and guitarist attempted to jump from the balcony to the crowd below during an extended interlude in the song Electric Bloom.

Philippakis was stopped from jumping by two security guards and, with the help of a couple of fans, he tried to shake them off before being dragged away, reappearing on the stage moments later to finish the song.

"I want to say a massive thank you to you," Philippakis yelled at the crowd, "and f*** that security guy."

His middle finger fired into the air. The crowd roared.

His second run-in came during the final song of the night, Two Steps, Twice.

After making his way around the balcony as the band built up the 'babada babada' refrain to breaking point, he decided to climb down onto one of the large front-of-house speakers.

Again, a security guard tried to stop him, but Philippakis shoved him in the chest, fired him a few stern words and made his way down to the stage.

The crowd roared.

They were two quintessential rock 'n' roll moments that made what could have been a memorable live music experience an unforgettable one.

Foals - Jack Bevan (drums), Jimmy Smith (guitar), Walter Gervers (bass) and Edwin Congreave (keyboard) - put on a rock show 'how to' clinic and Philippakis commanded the stage effortlessly.

The set started with the instrumental Prelude from Foals' latest album Holy Fire.

The album deviated from the pretty, indie-rock served up on Antidotes and Total Life Forever, embracing heavier and darker elements of the genre.

The change was hard to swallow for some fans, but when Prelude erupted into a violent breakdown and hundreds of pairs of feet left the floor in tandem, the evolution was complete.

The band, from Oxford, England, known for funky bass lines and quirky guitar licks had another weapon in their arsenal - headbanger riffs.

The hall was near capacity and the fans, who seemed to be familiar with the entire back catalogue, jived to the groovy pop of My Number and Total Life Forever, but the more atmospheric and down-tempo Spanish Sahara and Late Night were stand-outs.

The sound was crisp, allowing Smith's clean guitar licks plenty of room in the mix. Even during moments of relative chaos, like the bridge in Blue Blood, the individual musical parts, including Philippakis' powerful vocals, cut through clearly.

It almost sounded too good at times, like you could have been listening to a CD with a good pair of headphones.

But the extended instrumental interludes and improvised transitions between songs were regular reminders that you were witnessing a seasoned band deliver a live music experience to rival, or in most cases, transcend, their indie-rock contemporaries.