June 14, 2008
by Carly Ealey


Brick by Brick | 6/14/2008

Holy crap, do I love Foals.  I have been listening to their debut full-length album Antidotes non-stop for the past few weeks.  Maybe I like them so much because they remind me of Snowden and sound a teeny bit like SD locals Irradio or maybe because Yannis, the lead singer, is so damn charming. 

I first learned about Foals by sampling one of Zack’s weekly music blogs and was stoked to later discover that they would be playing in San Diego at Brick by Brick May 25th. Zack flaked as my show buddy, so I got my friend Julie to come out with me last minute.  We showed up hungry and, having missed the hours of the bar’s attached restaurant, headed across the street to JV’s Mexican food per the advice of the bouncer.  A Combo #8 and fountain drink later, we returned to the bar to catch Crocodiles just starting their first song.

The two-guy crew played guitars backed by drumbeats from an iPod and what looked like a crappy old keyboard balanced on a trashcan. Surprisingly, the spastic pair sounded like a full band and had everything well-timed - I could tell they had done this before.  Just when it seemed like everyone was warming up to the lead singer’s awesome dance moves, their time was up and the crowd shuffled towards the bar and pool tables in the back. I’m looking forward to listening to these guys some more, but can’t seem to find much info on them. 

We grabbed a drink and I watched Julie play Bicep Buster in the mini arcade room downwind from the restrooms.  After a few minutes, we heard Maps and Atlases tuning up so we said Hi to the merch guys and made it back to the stage.  If you think nerds are hot (guilty), then you will think Maps and Atlases are dead sexy. These kids from Chicago have skills.  In 2006, they self-released their debut EP Tree, Swallows, Houses.  What really impressed me were the two guys playing guitar using a crazy finger tapping technique the entire show.

The Most Trustworthy Tin Cans was one of my favorites performed..and it’s on their myspace - hooray for  technology!  The female of the group was on the vibraphone and the drummer was ridiculous and rocked the cowbell.  I became an instant fan and can’t seem to get the lead singer, Dave Davison’s, whiny nerd voice out of my head.

After another booze intermission, Foals finally took the stage.  It was obvious that the strange mix of people at the Brick by Brick were there to see them. (I made a remark to Julie earlier about the weirdos in the crowd and she said something about how she liked it and how it was ‘real’…totally)  Foals were super high energy and sucked in the crowd right away. They played every song you’d want to hear as you would expect from a band touring on their first album.  A majority of people knew the words as much as I did.  

Their lead singer, Yannis Philippakis, often climbed the speakers and made a trip into the audience once, causing a techie to scramble to untangle the cords.  At one point, Yannis even pulled out a drum for one of the songs and went nuts.

After an amazing show including a mini encore, I ended up sticking around after most people left thanks to Julie insisting on finishing her Maker’s Mark on the rocks.  I watched her nurse it for about 10 min before I suggested we check the merch one last time.  We chatted it up and I got a bunch of free pins and a sticker from the polite English dude representing Foals.  Julie was digging through tees and asking the guys a million questions as always when I realized Foals lead singer was standing next to me... awesome.  So, of course I had to let him know how good they sounded and the two of us ended up hanging out in the Brick by Brick alley engaged in an interesting conversation.  It was hard to believe just how cool this guy was and not just because of his accent or how polite he was or his freakishly uncanny resemblance to Jason Shwartzman (Rushmore, Darjeeling Limited) ... they even have the same mole, I swear!  We got to talking about the tour and how he was feeling about it.

A 2 month tour is a good amount of time and prior to that they were in Japan which, Yannis said, was “incredible.”  Next, they were heading up to Portland, Vancouver, then Seattle, three more stops, then back to the UK.  He said at the beginning of the tour all he wanted to do was go home, and now he wanted to just keep touring.  We got to talking about life on the road and how tough it is and the kind of bad habits you fall into.  I guess it gets worse once you come back home.

I noticed a newer white camper style van with trailer parked near by and asked if that’s what they traveled in.  I was right.  He said it was okay, but a little cramped.  Luckily, they had a couple of days off so they were planning on checking out the beaches.  He said that someone told him OB was cool…I agreed.  He probably asked me more questions than I asked him;  he was very interested in San Diego and the people here.  He wanted to know what I did for a living and if everyone here was rich.  (Apparently he met some girl that wanted to show him around in her Porsche - I do not have a Porsche).  Oh yeah, and he has a sense of humor.  He told me about this hotel the band stayed in up in Frisco.  Apparently, a lot of touring musicians stay there because it’s cheap and has a lot of history.

One morning they were leaving the hotel and some  trannies were having sex and making out on the street in broad daylight.  He said something like, "Oh yeah that must taste real good in the morning, I want some of that".  I think he told me the story to see if that was a normal occurrence here in California.  Yeah, definitely not, but I did relate a story of my past life in San Francisco and how crack was frequently and freely offered to my friends and I on the streets (we did not accept).

I told him I went to school up north for a couple of years and he asked if I dropped out.  I repeated myself saying I left after two years to move to the LA area and he interrupted laughing, “so you dropped out?”  I laughed and said sure.  I think he just wanted to tell me that he too dropped out.  Did I mention he is only 22?  He must be an old soul.  We talked for awhile longer about random stuff..I could have stayed out all night talking and hanging out but I had a drunk friend inside getting herself into all sorts of trouble.  We said our goodbyes, or rather I yelled goodbye and thanks while steering Julie towards the car.

Tags: Sub Pop, San Diego, Foals, Brick by Brick, Carly Ealey

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