Gig Review: Foster The People @ The HiFi, 27th July

This review is going to be a bit different to usual, which probably just means that it’s going to be short enough so that you might actually finish it. I didn’t have a chance to write up Fotser The People’s Splendour sideshow before heading to Splendour itself, and now all my music brain space has been taken up by memories of the festival. But I’ll do my best anyway, because it was a show that deserves a writeup.

Opening the show was Guineafowl, who played a really strong set to what was initially a bit of an uninterested crowd. Recognisable songs such as Botanist and Little Fingers got the already sizeable crowd moving around a bit, however it was obvious that those standing resolutely on the barrier were waiting for one band and one band only.

Opening for Foster The People is such an absurdly hard gig given the diverse nature of the crowd they attract, and the crowd at the HiFi was never really fully behind Guineafowl, despite what was at times some great music. This was in direct contrast to Guineafowl’s Splendour set, which had a large crowd absolutely falling in love with the Sydney band.

I positioned myself on the balcony given that this was the second in eight nights of continuous live music and that I had to be up at 6am to catch a flight, and I’m glad that I did because from the moment Foster The People walked onto the stage the energy in the sold out and completely packed HiFi was absolutely mental. The band have come a long way since I saw them play the Northcote Social Club, and it was an adoring crowd that greeted this, their second Melbourne Splendour sideshow (although the first to go on sale).

They played a setlist consisting of every song from their magnificent debut album ‘Torches’, as well as the bonus track Broken Jaw and a surprise cover of Neil Diamond’s Heart Of Gold. For me the highlights of the gig included  the opening duo of Warrant and Miss You, with the latter seeing the energy in the venue reach a fever pitch within minutes of the band appearing on stage. 

Dancing, moshing, and singing along abounded as the band launched into numbers such as Houdini and Call It What You Want. For a band with just the one album Foster The People had no problems whatsoever playing for over an hour: when you release an album as consistently brilliant as ‘Torhces’, there is no reason not to play every single track off it live.

Pumped Up Kicks was predictably the highlight of the night, and saw a deafening chant erupt from the crowd, taking over lead vocals through strength of numbers and sheer determination. Mark Foster didn’t mind however, as he was busy dancing like an absolute boss, owning the venue as the crowd hung on his every word, including a pretty touching story about a shoe cobbler and plenty of seemingly genuine praise of Melbourne.

The band returned for an encore which included the aforementioned cover before closing with the one and only Helena Beat which saw the crowd move as one, utterly and completely enchanted by the likeable, accessible, fun, and pure music emanating from the stage.

The energy of the crowd was only matched by the energy shown on stage throughout the night, as band members continually swapped instruments, danced, sung, and clapped. As the crowd slowly trickled out of the venue into and into a cold Melbourne night, the sweat on their foreheads already evaporating, one thing was clear: Australia adores this band.

Live shows don’t come much more complete than this from bands as new as this, and I honestly can see no reason why Foster The People won’t be playing stadiums one day. They tick every single box that you could possible want from an artist, and they do it with an endearingly boyish charm that almost makes you forget they’re singing about youth homicide.

They are the best new band on the planet.

As for me, I walked out of the venue realising that I had to be awake in about five hours to fly up to Splendour, sighing slightly at the thought of waking up. But then a smile crossed my face, because I realised that it meant I would be seeing Foster The People live again in a couple of days, and everything suddenly seemed alright.

One Response to “Gig Review: Foster The People @ The HiFi, 27th July”

  1. i was lucky enough to see them live too. they are a pretty incredible band! at the moment im enjoying their new music video for Helena Beat :)

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