Foster the People at El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles, CA | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, May 30th, 2024  

Foster the People, Gardens & Villa

Foster the People at El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles, CA, July 8th, 2011

Jul 09, 2011 Photography by Wendy Lynch Redfern Foster the People
Bookmark and Share

Square is the new hip, and rockers without a cause have been replaced with the guys you bring home to meet mom and dad. At least that was the starting vibe Thursday night at El Rey Theatre, as hometown heroes Foster the People took the stage. Suited up in dress shirts and pants, the core trio Mark Foster, Mark Pontius, and Cubbie Fink (alongside additional musicians Sean Cimino, and Isom Innis) looked like they were a handful of Buddy Holly glasses away from 1950s pop-icon status.

Looks are deceiving.

It quickly became clear that Foster the People (who formed in early 2010) were light-years away from the band that—earlier this year—were spreading their wings at a small residency (“I remember playing solo stuff to 10 people at Molly Malones!” laughed Foster, name checking one of Los Angeles’ smallest venues). Launching into Torches cut “Warrant,” their sound was one of thundering, drum-circle fury—each member taking a turn at whacking whatever percussion was near by. Free from the squeaky-clean, Paul Epworth production of their debut album, the Columbia-signed trio (sorry kids—they ain’t an indie—not like that should matter) seemed to single-handedly blow the stink of hipster apathy from the greater LA-area. They were ready to rock. And they loved every moment it. Hey, remember that golden era when rockers weren’t afraid to demonstrate they, you know, cared about their craft? Perhaps the old-school pop comparisons aren’t so far off.

“Let’s have fun!” yelped Foster early into the set. Perhaps the blandest of stage banter— but you can’t fault these guys for taking their own advice throughout the ten high-octane tunes. It’s reaching for the low fruit, calling their joy in performance “infectious” (a word that should be reserved exclusively for describing medical conditions). How else does one describe the near-ecclesiastical glee the audience displayed upon hearing “Pumped Up Kicks?” (Surely no one’s first time hearing it—as that song is destined for summer of 2011 ubiquity.)

“I used to make lattes with those guys. I probably made lattes for all of you,” said Foster, euphoric at the sight of old co-workers in the audience. Eyes wide, he seemed unable to believe his luck, even when nearing set’s end. He’ll have some time yet to get used to it—with performances like these, chances are Foster (and the People) won’t go back to brewing coffee any time soon.

Also present: Opening band Gardens & Villa. The Santa Barbara quintet should be fêted—not only for their oddly compelling blend of angular electro-rock, but the lead singer’s daring jazz flute skills, and unabashed use of a papoose as an accessory. Their set-closing cover of “Cars” by Gary Numan is worth committing to tape—the sooner the better.

Foster the People Set List:

1. Warrant

2. Miss You

3. Houdini

4. Waste

5. Call it What You Want

6. I Would Do Anything For You

7. Life on the Nickel/Hustling

8. Pumped Up Kicks

9. Don’t Stop (Color on the Walls)


10. Helena Beat




Submit your comment

Name Required

Email Required, will not be published


Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

September 18th 2011

omg i love them!!!!!!