Foals; Bowery Ballroom, New York, Saturday October 20
Yannis and co get CMJ grooving
Every year at New York’s new music marathon CMJ, one band wears the sacred halo of buzz, and for 2007 the word on the street is noticeably equine. Frontman Yannis is typically modest, telling gushing journalists, “this show is gonna suck” before every performance, but by the time he’s chanting through ‘Ing Tabilag’ the need for modesty evaporates.
“We’re some English punks that have made it across the ocean,” he humbly announces, “and this song is about the fall of Rome”. Cue ‘Cassius’ which sees him and guitarist Jimmy running in circles and synth breaks that could have been half inched from its French namesake. ‘Heavy Water’ sees their wirey dance-punk wander towards the realm of the anthemic while ‘Red Socks Pugie’ veers towards (whisper it) the tender. But they leave the twin assault of ‘Two Steps Twice’, with its clapalong breakdown, and the digital overload of ‘Hummer’ to finish off the largely unacquainted throng. As the Bowery descends into a mass of whooping believers we realise we’ve learnt three things tonight: New Yorkers are not the insouciant, hard-to-impress statues they’re known as, Sub Pop are back in the saddle and Foals might just get the American respect they deserve.