Foals took the second day of Reading Festival by surprise with an intense 6-song secret set on the NME/Radio 1 Stage today (August 29). Here’s what went down…
The Oxford band shared the news on Twitter a few hours before their performance, with the tent filling as their performance approached. They appeared in slot left vacant between Twin Peaks and Slaves. With huge cheers from the crowd, and the band bathed in red light, they kicked off the show with ‘My Number’.
During the first verse, a fan wearing a horse mask climbed onto a friend’s shoulders. Within seconds, many in the front rows had joined him, and the crowd quickly turned into a sea of flailing limbs. “It’s so good to be back,” said Phillippakis. “Thanks so much for coming out and seeing us – if you don’t know who we are, we’re Foals.”
During the song the singer thumped his chest in time with drummer Jack Bevan’s beats. He moved to the edge of the stage, raised a finger and said to fans that Foals last played the NME/ Radio 1 stage in 2008, adding “It feels like our home”.
Bouyed by the applause he continued, “Are you ready Reading? Are you fucking ready Reading?” The cheering was cacophonous, and only got louder when Foals played ‘Inhaler’. The slower ‘Spanish Sahara’ followed, with the audience following Philippakis’ lead and clapping along to the entire song.
Penultimate track ‘Red Socks Pugie’ sparked a similar reaction, with Jimmy Smith thrashing violently on his guitar. As the tent filled with noise once again, Philippakis introduced final song ‘What Went Down’. “Our record came out yesterday and this is from it, let’s level this place.”
Philippakis, his white t-shirt soaked through with sweat, headbanged and rushed around the stage, stopping only to scream its chorus and rake his hands through his hair. The band stopped playing and the frontman led the crowd through the chorus one last time.