Freelance Whales

“the fury in your head”: Foals at the 9:30 Club, 5/6/11 (with The Naked and Famous, and Freelance Whales)

The world has its beautiful people. We’re all familiar with them. Their perfect faces adorn magazine covers, movie posters, and power-pop stages. Perfect – and perfectly interchangeable.  And then, there are those with the kind of beauty we might never have noticed had it not, say, been scooped up and gifted to us by a Joss Whedon … or appeared to us on a stark stage, adorned only by their sound and their fury. Like Foals at the 9:30 on Friday night.

It’s not that Foals’ recordings aren’t fantastic. They are. They inspired us to purchase our tickets well in advance of the evening’s eventual sell-out. But the recordings, though wonderful, don’t begin to do justice to this band’s true power. On the album, you hear influences, both direct and indirect. Robert Fripp. Talking Heads. A melding of Britain’s old punk and Goth scenes, running straight up from “Ians” Curtis and McCulloch, through Robert Smith, with a bit of a detour through the Islands (at night) and a stop at a dance club or two for good measure. Live, though, the contours of these influences fade. Like the five men who comprise Foals, seemingly dispirit parts become, when combined on stage, a transcendent whole. This transformation is effected, in part, by some mad musical skills, a few powerful personas, and a healthy dose unabashed passion. (Talented drummer Jack Bevan continually leapt from his seat while playing like a drop of water hitting hot oil in a frying pan.) But there’s also alchemy at work here...