It’s not surprising they’ve gained such popularity so fast, with their catchy single ‘Pumped up Kicks’ preceding their debut album ‘Torches’, they have developed repertoire of instant favourites (that more often than not will get stuck in your head for the rest of the day). Live, they certainly live up to the carefree fun that’s associated with the band.
Perhaps due to their seemingly never-ending state of play on radio the past few months, the Empire was packed out, devout fans lining up long before doors opened at seven. More often a band of this current popularity with only a debut album under their belt draw the crowds but disappoint on stage, however this was far from the case.
Foster opened with energy and a fierceness of band marked with far more years of experience, starting with ‘Houdini’ to wow the throbbing crowd. They did not back down, tearing the stage up right until their second encore – a more dance-inspired version of ‘Pumped up Kicks’, of course – that had the venue standing and dancing all the way up to the back of the stalls.
Yes, lead vocalist Mark Foster’s beautiful voice lacked the purity and gracefulness of the studio work, but his unbelievable energy couldn’t help but transfix you. Man-oh-man, those nerds can dance, Foster periodically busting out some sweet shanty-jig-type moves, transforming the oomph, dynamism and fun of their music into a physical explosion. Everyone was sweaty, exhilarated and exhausted by the time the troupe finally exited, Foster giving a shy wave to his adoring fans.
Though we once feared this band could have easily become another fad, we’re certainly keen to watch this space. At least until we master those dance-moves.