Foals at Silent Barn

By Jamie Peck

The flimsy floor shook. Frontman Yannis Phillippakis jerked about as the music took him out into the audience and back. Enjoying an outer borough lawlessness, people dangled cigarettes dangerously from their mouths while they stomped, clapped, and flailed. Unlike the restrained African motifs employed by certain other bands du jour, I picked up a tribal element to drummer Jack Bevan’s pounding that sounded like it came from deep within the planet, not a sample but an internalization. Yannis’ otherworldly yelp summoned viscera from poetry. Musically and mathematically, there was a lot going on, but even the untrained ear enjoyed what it was hearing: balls out dance punk. The human brain takes a primitive pleasure in discerning sets and sequences of numbers, and these guys take full advantage of that. Just because it’s intelligent doesn’t mean it can’t be equally evocative of dark nights spent in dirty bar and beds from Bushwick, Brooklyn to Oxford’s Cowley Road.

I couldn’t help thinking this was the best possible way to hear Foals, late at night on a Wednesday in what was basically someone’s kitchen. The motions this music creates are too dangerous for the large sanitized halls they will have to play once they’ve conquered America. With a Dave Sitek-produced album coming out on Sub Pop and a deafening buzz, their full tour in April might be one of your last chances to catch them this way. After that, you’ll have to be content with imagining you’re at a house party when you see and hear them play. Fortunately, it’s not hard.