Walking casually out onto stage to a packed crowed at Manchester Arena to screams that are enough to make you lose your voice, must have been a pre-Valentine’s treat for Foals.

The Oxford band have made their mark as one of Britain’s most artful and expressive musicians. With four albums already under their belt, they’ve come a long way from their classic indie sound with the addition of a pinch of rock. Their latest album, What Went Down, is sharper and heart wrenching in comparison to their earlier three – and hearing it live makes everything seem that more meaningful.

Rewind 9 years back to 2007, and frontman Yannis Philippakis tells us that the band’s first gig here in Manchester was at the Night and Day Café. I learn something new every day. Even though their unforeseen launch to arena may come as a surprise to some people, with the progression of the groups new rock range, it seems that 2016 is going to be Foals’ year of more success. 

After gearing up backstage, they kickstart the show with a colossal take on ‘Snake Oil’, a track on their newest album. The alignment on stunning melodies is central on songs such as ‘My Number’ and ‘Olympic Airway’s, with tribal funk and a head moving dance sesh via Philippakis and Jimmy Smith’s electric guitar interaction.

Every gig has that one beautiful moment that makes you forget all sense of reality, and that moment is the anthem ‘Spanish Sahara’. The only word to describe this track live is immense, the epic transfer between gentle and soulful pop to a thunder blast of rock sounds like the coming and going in waves with the change hitting home.

The real game changer is the track, ‘What Went Down’. Like a wrecking ball, the bass of the guitar smashes into the eardrums immediately. The compulsive beat of the chorus lyric, ‘when I see a man, I see a lion’ stirred with Yannis’s roaring and scream like voice indicates the growth and arrival of a new chapter for the band. Forget the little venues they used to play in back in the day, playing in the arena is letting Foals trade their former funk fairy image for darker and more meaningful interpretations. The band, through a new theme of punk-rock, are showing audiences what they’re really are made off. Mental stuff.

Summing up the night on an extraordinary level, they close with the monumental ‘Two Steps, Twice’ tying the gig together. A slow yet exhilarating chime vibration ended in the biggest of electric riffs while not losing the melody.

There is nothing worse than seeing a band do something different in hopes of moving up to a bigger level, but Foals have done it effortlessly in a way that other bands should take note of. What doesn’t change is that they still remain to be one of the best live bands playing at that wavelength. Awesome.

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Natasha Jagger

Journalism student interested in digital and print based publishing. Fleetwood Mac and X-Files obsessed. Entertainment junky.