Forming in 2005 Foxygen’s three albums and several other releases to date are full of such intense emotion and amazing creativity, it’s hard to imagine they could deliver all that in a smallish venue, but they manage it, thrillingly.
The show begins at breakneck speed as the full band, including three 60s style girl band singers appear without introduction at once.
Frontman, Sam France acts like a raving lunatic, jumping on speakers, tearing off clothes, constantly combing his hair in a Norman bates tick type manner. Absolutely engaging and endlessly captivating; the whole band is crammed into the back of the venue, giving an exhilarating confrontational performance.
The band has, enough enthusiasm and energy to make even the most excited crowd look lazy.
The three singers complete the night; their vocals add another degree of power and quality to the songs and their unreserved choreographed dance routines match the singer’s antics perfectly, giving the performance a Rocky Horror Picture Show feel.
France runs the show like a particularly erratic James Brown: “you’re playing the wrong note, none of you are playing the right thing, I want to hear the Batman theme”
The other members seem un-phased by the frontman’s craziness, maybe they are in on it or perhaps they are also mad.
France has a zany chat about there early days with co conspirer Jonathan Rado.
They started the band as teenagers in Hollywood; they may as well be from another planet.
The music shifts in styles without losing any velocity whatsoever, hip-hop, rock n roll all flow in a psychedelic manor thanks to Rado’s genius on the organ.
Heavily distorted rock with the girl troupes screaming down the microphone are replaced with a slow-paced rendition of ‘Could Been My Love’.
“I’m having a hard day” France relays before delivering crooning number ‘I Split Up With My Girlfriend and My Boyfriend at the Same Time’; the song is a soothing breathe amid a whirlwind performance.
There is a distinct lack of tracks you may have heard, ‘How Can You Really Love Somebody’ isn’t played and ‘San Francisco’ is merely a teaser track when the band go on and off stage.
An hour of sweat and non-stop musical brilliance roll by and it’s over as suddenly as it began.
Foxygen’s spectacle and theatrics could teach a lot to many bands.
Words: Peter Johnstone
Photos: Bill Gray