Foals opened day one of Croatia’s INmusic Festival with a future rock firestorm

The Oxford electro-rock pioneers headlined the festival in Zagreb, Croatia

Foals launched 2019’s INmusic festival last night (June 24) with a fiery set of scorched disco and futuristic rock, following on from a UK tour that saw them headline two nights at Alexandra Palace.


“We’re gonna fucking do one tonight,” singer Yannis Philippakis told the crowd gathered on the idyllic wooded island in the middle of Lake Jarun in Zagreb, and they began their set as they meant to rage on. Firing up the angular moon rock of ‘On The Luna’, from this year’s ‘Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1’ album, they mutated through the amorphous funk of ‘Mountain At My Gates’ toward the funk punk frolics of their debut album standout ‘Olympic Airways’, with its frantic chanted chorus of “Disappear!”


‘My Number’ and ‘Black Gold’ introduced a more tropical disco feel in keeping with the sun-beaten surroundings, before Yannis told the crowd to “smoke it if you got it” and steered the set into dubbier territory with the new album’s ‘Syrups’, which saw Yannis and guitarist Jimmy Smith snake-dancing with each other centre-stage, swapping gnome-like riffs. An emotive and magnificent ‘Spanish Sahara’ lifted the set into the atmospheric stratosphere, where the space funk ‘Exits’ ran into some very dark matter indeed and ‘In Degrees’ clicked into a truly galactic groove.


“We’re gonna play you some rock songs now,” Yannis declared, rounding off the set with the AI punk ‘White Onions’, the stormtrooping funk of ‘Inhaler’, ‘What Went Down’’s dark devil blues and a frenetic ‘Two Steps, Twice’. “We’d play all night if we could,” Yannis told the crowd as the band left the stage, and Zagreb cursed the curfew right along with them.

Earlier in the day, Kurt Vile & The Violators graced the main stage with Vile’s hallucinogenic brand of AM radio rock, merging looping acid country tracks like ‘Bassackwards’ with more febrile drawl rock numbers like ‘Puppet To The Man’, dedicated to “all the corrupt politicians in America”. Skindred got the first moshpits of the day windmilling their shirts above their heads with their rap metal tirade, and self-proclaimed “rock’n’roll masters of the universe” The Hives proved they’re still a ferocious garage punk affair. Met onstage by a large kung fu roadie and dressed in white dinner jackets and black bow ties, they tore into a set of rabid anthemic riots with ‘Come On’ and ‘Walk Idiot Walk’, with singer Howlin’ Pelle Almqvist leaping from the drum riser, declaring “we are going to spontaneously combust and turn ourselves into ash and flames and explosions and all sorts of fireworks” before a mighty ‘Hate To Say I Told You So’ and introducing the band as immortal, legendary evolutionary wonders with trophy cabinets stuffed with Oscars and Emmys. Yes, they clearly ran out of songs with 25 minutes to go and Pelle resorted to killing time during ‘Tick Tick Boom’ with endless crowd participation activities, but closing with urgent chant-along epic ‘Return The Favour’ only served to prove they were gaining punk velocity as with age.


In the shadow of the gigantic Tesla Tower in the middle of the island, Fontaines D.C. brought their clatter of pure attitude to the Hidden Stage, singer Grian Chatten prowling the stage and stabbing the ground with his mike stand like a ball of constrained, righteous energy. Meanwhile, on the World Stage, Johnny Marr speckled his motorik, sci-fi solo tunes – ‘New Dominions’, ‘Call The Comet’, disco rock marvel ‘Easy Money’ – with Smiths and Electronic tracks such as ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’, ‘Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before’, ‘Living In Sin’, ‘How Soon Is Now?’ and a joyously received ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’. He even covered Depeche Mode’s desert sex monster ‘I Feel You’, adding further indie-noir kudos to a set already brimming with it.


INmusic continues tonight with a headline set from Suede and appearances from Garbage, Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls and Black Honey.


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