Believe it or not, a few years ago Foals were playing to tiny crowds up and down the country. That’s hard to imagine after seeing their first headline performance at Reading Festival this weekend.
Singer Yannis opens with a swagger, proclaiming “We’re gonna have a f-ing special night tonight,” before launching into a pounding rendition of ‘Snake Oil’, seemed designed purely to silence those who claim Foals aren’t ready to be a headline band. It works.
This is an incredibly tight set. It’s clear the band has gone all out on this show, the pyrotechnics giving ‘Inhaler’ even more punch than the song already has. Yet balancing the stadium feel is Yannis’ trademark crowd interaction. He’s flirting with us, telling everybody “You look real pretty out there” and somehow keeping both of his shoes while crowd surfing.
It’s not all pounding riffs though. ‘Spanish Sahara’ provides a welcome break for the sweaty, sunburnt crowds and an opportunity for a sea of people to clamber onto each other’s shoulders for a better look, or at least a chance at appearing on the big screen.
The encore is even more special, with ‘Cassius’ given an airing after a five-year break, showing the band embracing the songs that made them popular. For classic closer ‘Two Steps, Twice’, drummer Jack is joined by Guy Lawrence from co-headliners Disclosure, with a final blast from two massive confetti cannons. A celebratory end to a triumphant headline slot.
Originally published as part of NME/University of Reading’s Reading Festival coverage at: http://readinglive.nme.com/