Foxygen @ The Echo 3/29/2013

We missed Foxygen at SXSW due to them pulling out of their last couple shows in Austin.  We weren’t too bummed because we had tickets to see them at the Echo in LA tonight.  We arrived to hear the second band on the bill Sam Flax, who had a lead singer glammed out in a gold top and lipstick and a bassist who, depending on the angle, looked either 18 or 50.  They had some good grooves but nothing special, to be honest.

Once Foxygen took the stage, there was a mania that took over parts of the audience which corresponded to the stage.  Lead singer Sam France was full of bombast, gestures, and a great voice that unfortunately got lost during most of the Echo’s not-that-great sound system.  The band careened through a bunch of songs that were raucous but still easy to listen to before getting to the first of the triumvirate of songs you’ve probably heard, Shuggie.  On this song they seemed to settle into a calm for a few moments before exploding again into full-on rockiness.

Foxygen at the Echo.

Foxygen at the Echo.

France had been wearing a black hoodie during the first half of the show but then he threw it off for a white t-shirt that had scrawled “DIGITAL” on the front and “ANALOG” on the back.  The standouts for them “San Francisco” and “No Destruction” were really great, as they toned down the volume a little and let France’s vocal stylings get to the forefront.  “No Destruction” in particular is such a great song and they nailed it live, it showed the full potential of the band.  It’s one of the best songs of the 10’s in my opinion.

And then to counteract that, they left midset, as a joke apparently, and then came back after about 30 seconds and admitted that the joke hadn’t worked.  Later, a person in the audience shouted how they had not gotten to see them at “Southby” due to their cancellation of their last few days of shows.  I cringed, as given the state of the band (who had just canceled their European tour due to exhaustion), I was worried that France would say “fuck this” and leave.  But, guitarist Rado gave a witty “you should have come earlier” and they started their next song.

I hope this band can get their traveling act together because I think they really have something to show people.  Despite the uneveness, they had great energy throughout their set.  With their two main contributors in their early 20s, I can understand the ups and downs, and I hope the hiatuses serve them well and aren’t a harbinger of a breakup of the band.  To highlight the chaos of their set, they brought up guys from the opening band Wolf Thompson and tried (and maybe succeeded?) at setting the Guinness World Record for most tambourine players on stage at once (I counted five).  After the tambourines shuttled off, they played one more song that kept up the clatter of most of the set but somehow had people grooving along.  When they finished, it was obvious the crowd wanted more, but there was not going to be another 30 second fake-out.  The show was over.  I hope to see these guys again.

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