Nothing like a spot of psychedelic abandonment to forget the news of the day
Escapism might not solve anybody’s problems but a dose of fantastical 1970s baroque pop feels like a pretty fucking welcome way to take refuge from Donald John Trump’s glowering face, plastered as it is across every television and monitor in the entire world. Thankfully L.A. duo Sam France and Jonathan Rado are in no mood to talk politics tonight. Instead, the pair channel their energies into throwing one hell of a party below a sparkling disco ball and amidst silver balloons that spell out ‘Hang’, the name of their new record that’s out in January
Anybody who hasn’t been keeping an eye on Foxygen recently should know a couple of important things about that next LP. The first is that the twosome have enlisted the services of a 34-piece orchestra to contribute to every single track. The second is that fellow seventies transplants the Lemon Twigs are involved.
On stage, all this translates into a nine-strong band (replete with backing dancers) that’s big on bombast, camp affectations and retro-chic stylings. Perhaps more than ever before, Foxygen seem like a band out of time and place, France coming off like Todd Rundgren at the height of his powers throughout bittersweet opener ‘How Can You Really’ and the rest of a set that offsets melancholy paeans to lost lovers with bright tunes full of hope.
If France has toned down his on-stage antics (back in 2013 he broke his leg due to over-exuberant horsing around during a show), he clearly still revels in the theatrics of live performance. He dances around his mic stand and at one point ducks backstage to change into a waistcoat, only to swap back out of it again later. Meanwhile new tracks like ‘Follow the Leader’ take full advantage of the blaring brass section nestled at the back of the stage, coming off like some joyous amalgam of AOR and big-ticket singer-songwriter fare.
Speaking of tickets, the end of the show sees the group dole out raffle tickets for copies of Foxygen records. Your correspondent comes away empty-handed but can’t complain. Through music and deeds, Foxygen deliver a sunny and warm-hearted climax to an otherwise oppressively bleak day.
From Oslo, London. 9 November 2016.
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