‘What Went Down’: Foals Conquer Gigantic Wembley Arena Show

Indie bands are our invading the nation’s arenas. With Tame Impala and The Libertines already making the step up to mega-sized gigs, last night (February 16) Foals became the latest band to join the roll call with a gigantic show at London’s Wembley Arena.

Arriving towards the end of their UK arena jaunt, Foals played a furious 75 minute set to the capacity crowd – one day before they perform in more intimate settings at NME Awards 2016, with Austin Texas at O2 Academy Brixton.

Opening with a blistering rendition of ‘Snake Oil’ from ‘What Went Down’, the Oxford five-piece stated their intentions clearly from the off. ‘Fuck yeah, we’re gonna have a good time’, frontman Yannis Philippakis told the crowd.

They expanded on the storming start, following up with old cuts ‘Olympic Airways’ and ‘My Number’, with the latter’s twisting guitar riff and thundering bass line prompting the evening’s first mosh pits to open in the crowd.

Accompanied by a complex and multicoloured lighting rig, the pace slowed with new album tracks ‘Birch Tree’ and ‘Give It All’. But before long, a furious back-to-back of ‘Providence’ and ‘Spanish Sahara’ became mass sing-a-longs. The liquid, soothing opening half of ‘Spanish Sahara’ exploded in glorious fashion, with Jimmy Smith’s screeching guitar accompanied by rhythmic lasers which filled the 12,000 capacity venue, resulting in a mind-blowing climax.

‘Knife In The Ocean’ – essentially ‘Spanish Sahara’ pt.2 – also erupted, with Yannis’ soaring vocals setting the tone for an epic finale upon a stuttering drum rhythm from Jack Bevan. Main set closer ‘Inhaler’s bone-shaking guitar riff assisted Yannis in whipping the crowd into a frenzy, before launching into the head-banging outro.

The encore began with a slight lull, despite Yannis dedicating the sombre ‘London Thunder’ to ‘the best city in the world.’ ‘What Went Down’ followed, and the jerky ‘Two Steps, Twice’ exploded in a snowstorm of confetti and streamers, providing an arena-worthy finish to a vicious and celebratory show.

Foals have got six months to iron out the few setlist kinks that brought the 75 minute show to a brief pause, but when they approach their headline slot at Reading & Leeds the shock and awe tactics used aptly in their live show will no doubt leave the festival punters dazzled come August.

Social media typically responded with glowing praise for one of Foals’ biggest shows to date:

The mighty Foals showing everyone what they’re made of at The SSE Arena, Wembley last night #WhatWentDown

Posted by We’re Lost In Music on Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Foals played:
Snake Oil
Olympic Airways
My Number
Birch Tree
Give It All
Mountain At My Gates
Spanish Sahara
Red Socks Pugie
Late Night
A Knife In The Ocean
London Thunder
What Went Down
Two Steps, Twice