“I feel like we’ve missed each other – us and you”, said Foals frontman Yannis Philippakis midway through their all-conquering show at Manchester’s Castlefield Bowl.
The Crowd duly responded, welcoming Foals back into the heart of Deansgate with open arms – we missed you too Yannis. Foals were in Manchester straight from Glastonbury and clearly still relishing in the heights of their phenomenal headline performance on The Other Stage: the Oxford band brought the noise, replicating the Glasto set with some other choice Foals cuts thrown in.
Before Yannis & co could get anywhere near the Castlefield Bowl stage, chaos reigned: the support acts, The Regrettes and Wet Leg were both struck down by Covid. Leeds legends Yard Act stepped in at the last minute, and if you could hand-pick an artist to embrace chaos, it would be YA. Swigging cans and striding fervently around the stage, Yard Act treated the Manchester crowd to a boisterous set, made up of tracks from their chart-battling debut record The Overload and the Dark Days EP, YA played a blinder, especially at such late notice.
By the time Foals took to the stage, the sun had begun to set around Castlefield Bowl, illuminating the Deansgate skyline in a gorgeous orange glow – as the trains rumble past it gives this stunning venue even more charm. Foals’ first Manchester headline show in far too long could not have a better setting. The show was made up of songs plucked from across Foals’ illustrious 15-year career. Cuts from new record Life is Yours appeared throughout the set, with show opener ‘Wake Me Up’ and ‘2am’, sending the crowd into raptures of funky disco-rock. The new record is a brilliant effort from Foals, combining their muscular rock chops with dance beats, giving the show an extraordinarily profound sense of summer.
Foals are an incredibly tight live group – their clear enthusiasm for the show was eagerly jumped on by the crowd, opening cavernous mosh-pits and, of course, Yannis was headfirst into the mele a number of times – the frontman was held aloft by his adoring public as the band raced through their set
Whilst the new dance-rock direction of ‘Life is Yours’ was met well by the crowd, it was Foal’s earlier work, made up of dynamic, spiralling math-rock jams that captivated the Castlefield crowd. Closed out by the traditional ‘Two Steps Twice’, Foals were able to slip the bonds of reality and close out an iconic set with etherial, long-form math rock jams.
Wake Me Up
Mountain at My Gates
Life Is Yours
What Went Down
Two Steps, Twice
feature image: Edward Cooke