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Foals - Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff - 24/06/2010 (LIVE REVIEW)

Friday, 25 June 2010 Written by Jacob Mier
Foals - Clwb Ifor Bach, Cardiff - 24/06/2010 (LIVE REVIEW)

For the second time in two months, I am deaf, dizzy and totally hoarse - or should that be foal? I thought there could be nothing like the Nottingham gig I revelled in a month or so ago on the "Total Life Forever" tour, but the Oxford indie-math rockers not only seem to never fail to deliver, it appears their live shows just continuously swell with glorious intensity as their music develops further poignancy and the madcap intellectuals at its centre mature into equines in the prime of their youth - there is no stopping Foals.

When it comes to venues, they don't get much more intimate than Clwb Ifor Bach - also known as the Welsh club, the Womanby Street, Cardiff venue is basically a room with a bar at the back and some pretty dodgy smoke machines. Fans were hardly starry-eyed in the company of support group Black Sky Thinking (Bloc Party bassist Gordon Moakes' new, melodic, heavy rock band) - I personally found the strength of vocals and power of drumming invigorating, though I could still have been under the influence of an awe struck in me 30 minutes earlier when I stumbled across all 5 Foals sat outside a restaurant eating pizza. An antagonising delay later, raucous cheers were aired for the arrival of Yannis Philippakis and his motley crew of borderline math nerds gone native in the wilderness onstage - the band blitzed through set opener "Total Life Forever" and now-seminal classics "Cassius" and "Olympic Airways" but without the same manic crowd response I had been engaged in Trent Students Union. Things began to get exciting, however, right at the last, when an frustrated few in the audience took matters into their own hands and made the room crawl with gasping, young bodies to the intense tune of "Electric Bloom". Having been duly made ecstatic by Yannis' neandering into the crowd, fans got hold of a mic and mayhem began to kick off. Crowd surfing, front-row-squeezing and rigorous mosh-dancing all became infinitely more prolific as staple old-timers "The French Open" and "Two Steps, Twice" resonated with a beautiful, hellish abandon for anything. Fingers greased with the sweat of Yannis Philippakis' hair, ears stoppered with sonic storms in the head and vocal chords ravaged by relentless, impulsive (most probably horrifically distracting and out-of-tune) top-of-the-voice yelling, I staggered out towards Caroline Street doused in sweat.

On the dazed motorway ride home I contemplated how seemlessly tracks from apparently polar first and second albums appeared to correlate within the context of a Foals setlist. The dips and rises between breakneck, uptempo euphoria - "Two Steps, Twice", "Cassius" - and soothing, ambient serenades from a much more vocally brave Philippakis - "Blue Blood", "Spanish Sahara" - provide the Foals gig of the present with an incredible variety of raw-yet-calculated, soul-wrenching ecstasy - perhaps I speak too highly of them, but I forbid anyone out there with a set of working eardrums and a pair of orderly feet to see Foals in action and subsequently deny the following statement:

Foals are the best live band in the world.

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