Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Show Review - Foster The People - Mr Smalls - 8/8/11 - Pittsburgh - Live Review - Concert Review

To be honest, I wasn’t sure I even wanted to attend this show. I had just returned from Lollapalooza that morning witnessing Foster The People’s set on Friday. It was the largest crowd for a 3pm show I had seen at a festival setting. Needless to say I ended up way in the back. My impression wasn’t positive. It was hot and maybe I was in a mood. We left after about 4 songs into the set. So the question became, “Did I really want to attend after coming home beat up from the long weekend?” Everyone deserves a second chance and the payoff came that evening.

This show had been sold out for weeks with scalpers asking over $100 a piece. They are probably one of the hottest bands touring where you can find a gauntlet of ages from 13-60 at the shows. There was no exception this evening with a hodgepodge of mothers and teeny boppers in attendance. I brought a buddy who usually doesn’t attend concerts, but loves the Torches LP and wanted to check them out. I hinted beforehand about my experience at Lolla, but just asked him to give me an honest opinion after the show. Really though, it wasn’t needed. With the lights dimmed, Foster The People came out with members pounding in unison on various drums stirring the crowd into a frenzy before launching into their set. What can I say? I made a terrible misjudgment.

Front man Mark Foster understands how to appeal to a crowd at such a young age. He is probably a few years removed from High School but interacts with the audience as a veteran. His movements, vocals, energy and banter kept the masses in the palm of his hand the entire evening. The rest of the band supplies just as much energy as their lead. They are all talented, multi-instrumental individuals, taking turns from guitars, keyboards and drums. You cannot say enough about their own charisma adding the backdrop to Foster’s gut wrenching vocals and sweat induced dancing. One of those ‘I will never forget’ moments is when playing ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ Mark literally stopped singing and the crowd sang the lyrics for him verbatim. Solid.

Foster is one of the most grounded lead’s I have witnessed at such a young age. Before launching into ‘Broken Jaw’ (see first minute of video below) he addressed the audience with a bit of guidance for the youngsters. He summed up his life stating he had worked at various jobs including pizza delivery, gas stations and a door to door salesman. His message: Follow your dream and don’t give up. Obviously, it worked for him.

As the band performed its encore, they played a cover of ‘Heart of Gold’ by Neil Young. I was impressed. Haven’t seen many tackle that song, but they did it notably.

After the show I asked my buddy what he thought. He said it was one of the best time’s he had in 5 years. That truly is saying something. For me, what the hell was I thinking disparaging this band? It validates you should always give anyone a second chance. Glad I did. Go see them now in the smaller theater setting while you still can. No regrets.