Home > Reviews > Live Reviews > 11/02/2014 | Foals + That Fucking Tank + Cage The Elephant – O2 Academy, Birmingham

11/02/2014 | Foals + That Fucking Tank + Cage The Elephant – O2 Academy, Birmingham

Susan Ludzik

Triangle

Before I write anything else, I think it’s worth saying outright that Tuesday night was one of the best gigs I’ve ever attended. It was the first time I’d ever been to Birmingam’s treasured O2 Academy and as That Fucking Tank jammed away onstage to the audience’s delight, I curiously watched its spacious and yet surprisingly cosy nooks and crannies fill up with intimidatingly hip students.

Cage The Elephant’s Matt Schultz put on a performance evocative of a shamanic ritual – except with a lot more funk – screeching raw-throated into the mike with such savage abandon that it seemed entirely likely that he’d pass out any second, and lauding the audience for being “wonderfully psychotic”. In between Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked and Come A Little Closer he dove twice into the audience, shirtless, and stood there held up by his fans, smirking Dionysus-like for an almost uncomfortably long time, before triumphantly throwing himself into the crowd face first.

Foals opened with Prelude, and then Hummer, before Yannis Philippakis succinctly greeted the crowd by inviting them to “fuck this place up”. The setlist – somewhat short and oddly devoid of tracks from the beloved Total Life Forever – what it lacked in length, it more than made up for in intensity. The atmosphere resembled a shared, fevered hallucination; that disquieting, electrifying quality to the Oxford quintet’s riffs is amplified live until even their gentlest songs send the crowd into a frenzy (I had thought Spanish Sahara was just one of those songs that you couldn’t mosh to. I was very wrong).  Philippakis barely spoke, save to dedicate the hypnotic Late Night to the single and the dateless on Valentine’s Day, and to thank the fans for their continued support upon remembering that the 11th of February was, incidentally, the anniversary of Holy Fire’s release.

Foals ended with Inhaler; the audience were not about to let them get away so easily, though, chanting The French Open’s chorus until the band returned, grinning and plucking out the opening notes. During Two Steps Twice, Yannis vanished from the stage and reappeared on the stalls a moment later, attempting to pull his favourite party trick: jumping from the balcony. However, the Academy’s security staff were having none of it and having unceremoniously grabbed him by the waist, they carried him off to safety (I suspect he made no friends among them that night, between flipping them off from the stage afterwards and then encouraging the crowd to “do some fucking damage” to the venue).  During the course of the night l was so drenched in sweat my jeans were sticking to me and I almost ended up with a bloody nose; always the mark of a great show.