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I feel really terrible for the Silversun Pickups. Once upon a time, they were the second coming of alt-rock groups like The Smashing Pumpkins. They’ve been out of the fray for too long it seems, based on their weak and unsure turnout Saturday evening.
Worse yet, the audio mix was terrible, and the singer was virtually unheard for half the set. Stage management was struggling to keep the band at a feasible performance level. They brought out all their classics, but it might not have been enough to keep them above water in this hurricane of music.
The Decemberists are the kind of band that might provide the feels in your car, but fail to get you going live. It makes sense; they play easy going singer/songwriter tunes. The songs could logically be played by one man and a guitar, but they're filled out with a band, and it works fine. As far as energy goes, there’s not much to speak of. When that’s the case, a performer needs to compensate with some emotional depth.
Unfortunately, singer Colin Meloy has a voice scratchy enough to ruin an LP. It doesn’t do much to stir the spirit, though it has that "indie" tone that many find so attractive. I get the appeal, but there’s simply not enough character in the band’s stage performance to warrant a powerful attraction. They fill out the festival nicely, but I was happy to move on to who followed them…
Foals. I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect of Foals, but they ended being one of my favorite bands of the day. This group is explosive and incredibly fun. They're catchy too, but not in the pretentious way that often seems cringe worthy.
No, Foals killed it, as I like to say. Beyond the punk-ish, glam attitude they put up, you can tell these guys are extremely talented musicians. Every beat was on point, and every lick felt natural and tight. Not only do these guys know how to put on a show, they clearly know how to play.
And man, the show! I’ve never had so much fun with a band I was half-familiar with (which ends up being the case at most music festivals, by the way). Each musician moves in a way that proves how natural their skills come. They gracefully dance about the stage without missing a beat, yet still maintain their connection with the audience.
Anytime a musician dives into a crowd, you know it’s going to be a rowdy time. Foals frontman Yannis Philippakis did so, and was able to crowd surf for a good few minutes while belting into a microphone. Such high energy paired with great stage production (oh, the lights, man) make this show a definite winner for Saturday.