Photos and Words by Natasha Aftandilians
“Math rock” is something of a cute, albeit nerdy appellation that’s stuck to Foals’ music since they made their 2008 debut; for most of their career it seemed like an accurate label, but at the Hollywood Palladium last night, lead singer Yannis Philippakis and company were leading with a bit more “right-brained” passion. With a 4-abum arsenal of songs behind them, Foals were going wild onstage behind the exterior of their methodical rhythms.
From start to finish, every song felt like a musical hurricane; up close and in person, their riffs are more massive, with those calculated layers of percussion ringing out like rapid-fire rounds from a skittish machine gun. The fire and fury that was hinted at on more restrained albums like Antidotes or Total Life Forever was all consuming with Philippakis screaming at the top of his lungs and tossing beer at the sweaty front row. Even the slow, sweeping climax of songs like “Spanish Sahara” and “A Knife In The Ocean” reached heights of epic proportions.
Kicking off the encore with “What Went Down,” Philippakis dove head first into the teeming sea of people without hesitation, howling into the microphone like a banshee. Even as the night wound down with “Two Steps Twice” and guitars were left buzzing on the stage, the floor of the Palladium felt like the eye of a twister; it was a terrifying and overwhelming place to land, but the beauty of it was inescapable.