Foals warmed up for Bloc Party last year
Indie darlings of the moment Foals dropped into Norwich for a sellout gig, and just need a bit more time before blooming into full flourish, writes Robert Jackman.
Britain expects big things from Foals this year. For the bulk of the music industry, Oxford's latest art-rockers were one of 2008's top tips.
They've even made a cameo appearance in teen drama Skins (those who don't think that counts for much should try telling the leagues of skinny-jeaned trend-surfers who flock through the Waterfront's doors tonight).
For Norwich's ticket touts, they must have been sweet odds, as they brave tonight's icy chill to offer extra tickets in exchange for crumpled purple notes.
Back when this winter first took hold, Foals were a little-known indie band gearing up for a stint supporting indie stalwarts Bloc Party.
Now, with spring's mercy surely close, Foals are headlining their own tour, their name emblazoned across posters and banners throughout the land.
Calling the shots
Which is probably for the best - they're a band who works best when they're calling the shots.
With their arrhythmic pangs, cryptic lyrics and off-kilter drum loops, they don't fit too comfortably into mid-bill support slots.
Take debut album, Antidotes, released earlier this week. Listening to it, you just can't tell whether it's the token sound of some future decade or just a horrible studio accident.
And watching them live at the Waterfront tonight doesn't really clear the confusion.
At times, Foals are utterly exhilarating – flailing violently across the stage, their guitars hitched nipple-high and their once pristine fringes sagging with sweat.
It's times like these when Foals make all that hype seem like a pallid understatement.
Then you've got the stranger moments – the minutes spent with the band standing evenly in a circle, strumming cautiously, as if this were an arcane ritual rather than a heaving indie gig.
Foals aren't quite there yet, but from what they’ve shown tonight, give them a little bit longer and those odds should pay off rather nicely.
Foals played The Waterfront, Norwich, on Wednesday, 19 March, 2008.
last updated: 07/04/2008 at 15:06