Foster the People, Last Dinosaurs @ Enmore Theatre, Sydney (25/01/2012)
Tonight’s sole support act Last Dinosaurs took the stage to an already sizeable crowd. For a band that is yet to release their debut album, the Brisbane quartet (who perform as a five-piece live) have a remarkably large fanbase, with a substantial and excitable contingent of the audience singing along to the entire set. Frontman Sean Caskey informed us that it was the first time in their four-year career that they had played a 45-minute set, as somewhat of a disclaimer for any potential problems that may arise, but he needn’t have worried, as the band powered their way through the performance with ease. The group’s brand of guitar-pop is far from original, but it’s the finesse and energy with which they perform that sets them apart from their peers. Triple J staple Honolulu garnered a huge response from the Enmore floor – which was now nearing capacity – and marked the end of a thoroughly enjoyable support set.
There are two main parties who must be commended for the fantastically gratifying performance we witnessed from Foster the People tonight. Firstly; whoever was working the mixing desk. It is rare that an artist sounds as polished live as they do on record, but tonight’s production arguably exceeded the quality of the band’s debut album, due in part to immaculate mixing. The levels were maintained perfectly throughout the entire set, which made it an incredibly comfortable performance to witness. The second party who need to be recognised is Foster the People themselves, who managed to turn a mostly hit-and-miss album into an exceptionally engaging and entertaining live show.
Opening with Houdini, it was obvious from the get-go that the Californian trio – performing as an extended five-piece band – were in fine form. An impressive light show, coupled with flawless sound production made this show a delight to behold from the very beginning, the audience’s enjoyment only heightened by the energy and enthusiasm of the band. Lead vocalist Mark Foster committed his whole body to the performance, sprinting around the stage for the entirety of the set, at one point falling flat on his face. The youthful audience managed to match the dynamism of the band, screaming and dancing to their heart’s content.
At about the halfway point of the set, a clear divide began to emerge amongst the audience. While many in attendance became lost in the engrossing performance in front of them, others – who were clearly there for the sole purpose of hearing that song – were visibly bored by the band’s antics. The group weren’t exactly rushing to appease these throwaway fans, instead working their way through every track from their debut album, as well as one b-side and an extremely polished cover of Weezer’s Say It Ain’t So, fleshing out their set to a full hour.
The group returned to perform an extended, genre-defying rendition of their ubiquitous hit single Pumped Up Kicks, featuring a ridiculous number of chorus repeats. This marked the first time during the set that we saw full audience engagement, and it’s not hard to figure out why. Regardless of your opinion of Foster the People, the mere mention of the band will leave you humming that melody and bassline for hours on end.