I think it’s always exciting when a band that you’ve been following since their beginnings, released new material and go out on tour to support it. Particularly when a band challenge themselves with each record and know how to kick it live. It’s also even better when said band take out another band you love and who are superb live on the road with them. This all seems to be the case for Oxford outfit Foals who are on a virtually sold old UK tour in support of their third album ‘Holy Fire’ and supporting them are London based trio The Invisible.

I arrive inside the Manchester Academy just in time for The Invisible, as we hear the opening keyboard stabs of ‘Monster’s Waltz’ in all its wonderfully funky glory. It’s hard to sum The Invisible’s sound as they’re not a band tied to a genre as such, but I’d describe them a blend of electronica , soul and R’n’B wrapped up in pop sensibilities. What makes them such a great live band is the fact they’re all talented musicians and therefore jam out and alter the songs to create something really euphoric. Song’s from their latest LP, the beautiful ‘Rispah’ are given space and extra groove, ‘Generational’ is deep in bass and ‘Wings’ is expansively synthed out. We’re also treated to an incredible rendition of first album track ‘London Girl’, a fan favourite for sure, which is still effortlessly cool in its vibe and super strong grooves. As the band finish on the gorgeous ‘Protection’, it’s fair to say that The Invisible are a mesmerising live band that more people need to know about. A perfect support and warm up for what is about to come.

After the roadie seems to tune the same bass guitar about 3 times, the wait is over, lights are dimmed, weird synthy noises are made as Foal’s keyboardist Edwin steps onto stage, shortly followed by guitarist Jimmy. As they start the opening to ‘Prelude’, the proggy instrumental opener from the new record, which ascends into a full on rock breakdown, the rest of the band arrive on stage, a clear example of the bigger and more anthemic sound the band are trying to achieve on this new record. After another explosive, drum crashing jam, the band immediately launch into the super groovy pop of second LP title track ‘Total Life For Ever’ in which the crowd respond with lots of dancing, jumping and singing their little lungs out.

The band seems to get the right mix of all three records, but obviously there is a slight lean towards the new record, with recent single ‘My Number’ already sounding like a massive festival sing along. Tunes like ‘Late Night’ and ‘Milk And Black Spiders’ (in which frontman Yannis tells us they’ve only played once before) sound ready for the festivals as various girls jump on their boyfriends shoulders waving their arms around as both songs grow into euphoric crescendos. The main set closes with three excellently executed renditions of ‘Spanish Sahara’ which still sounds a beautiful as it did when we first heard it back in 2010, and debut album tracks ‘Red Socks Pugie’ and ‘Electric Bloom’ both act as dance your socks off hits that perfectly leave the crowd wanting more.

The band happily oblige our wishes by coming back on stage to play the stripped back beauty that is ‘Moon’, before ripping into a stadium bothering version of comeback single ‘Inhaler’ with its loud and proud guitar riff in the chorus! The band close with their staple set finisher ‘Two Steps Twice’ which is drawn out with a big percussive build up as The Invisible join the band on stage, Yannis screams “I wanna see this place melt” and subsequently the place goes mental as the breakdown drops and lights brightly flash and dart around the room like it’s the last gig in the world!

This was a gig full of energy and life and Foal’s seem at the top of their game, with the new songs sounding massive and the crowd already responding to them in a big way, summer is theirs for the taking.

Benjamin Forrester

I joined the Silent Radio family near the very start of my move to Manchester in 2012 and I'm still having the best time! During my stay here I've been in two noisy bands, had a not so noisy solo project, made a zine, started a blog and started a radio show. It's been productive to say the least and it's all been intersperse with a shit load of gig going and beer drinking. I would love it if you followed me on twitter @dr_brainless for excitable tweets about playing, watching and living new music.