Saturday, November 25, 2017
Tampa Bay Music & Shows

Foals dive into Tampa, immerse the Ritz Ybor in big, brawny Britrock

RECOMMENDED READING


It was around song 8, Providence, when Yannis Philippakis got the look.

The Foals frontman started pacing the Ritz Ybor stage, looking for an exit route, weighing his options. And once he'd sized things up, he was off, hopping into the pit with his guitar, plowing purposefully through the Tampa crowd and back around to the other side of the stage.

Philippakis was in the audience a minute, maybe 90 seconds, but that was all it took: The energy shot through the roof. That's what big-time guitar rock can do for a rowdy concert crowd. And Foals do it pretty dang well.

The British alt-rock group – superstars in their homeland, though not quite yet in the States – play like they were made for sprawling festivals. But Wednesday's concert showed Philppakis' stage-diving, crowd-surfing ways translate pretty well to smaller stages, too.

Foals cranked the volume pretty high from the jump, with a bruising low end and bluesy guitar foreplay swirling the audience into a heavy groove on instrumental opener Prelude. That gave way to the pummeling Snake Oil, with its toe-tapping beat and big, meaty, wrecking-ball riffs; and Olympic Airways, a post-punk rave-up of handclaps and fist pumps.

It didn't take long to pick up on Philippakis' subtle guitar wizardry. As rhythm guitarist Jimmy Smith jangled away and drummer Jack Bevan and bassist Walter Gervers built the foundation of a groove, Philippakis jumped and kicked through My Number and Blue Blood, chiming little droplets of melody into an immersive cloud of tones and textures. Some moments were showier than others – on Late Night, he went from ferociously jabbing his strings to unfurling a nifty Knopfleresque solo – but mostly his guitar fleshed out and expanded each swelling song, adding layer upon layer of sonic heft.

Time and again – Late Night, Give It All, Spanish Sahara – Foals would begin softly, semi-slowly, in atmospheric fashion, only to grow each one bloom a growling prog-rock monster. A Knife In the Ocean started out a stormy swinger, but never stopped building higher and burning brighter. And as multihued lights splashed off a disco ball, Red Socks Pugie expanded from a swoony post-punk dance song into an epic volcano of furious noise.

Foals do have a couple of stadium-sized anthems in their arsenal: Mountain At My Gates, imbued with extra soul thanks to keyboardist Edwin Congreave; and the slobberknocker rocker Inhaler, with its low guitars burbling and bubbling and conjuring thoughts of Led Zeppelin.

It was after Inhaler that Philippakis got the look again. For the encore, he hopped back offstage and into fans' arms on the incendiary title track to their 2015 album What Went Down. Then he briefly did it again for the closer Two Steps, Twice, his guitar still strapped to his chest.

The stage was smaller than many Foals are used to, but that just meant fans up front could go extra crazy when Philippakis leaped into their midst. They'll remember the look on his face. But thanks to his mighty guitar, the ringing in their ears might last even longer.

Comments
Brian Setzer talks about Tom Petty, ‘The Simpsons’ and his third act with holiday music

Brian Setzer talks about Tom Petty, ‘The Simpsons’ and his third act with holiday music

Brian Setzer knows he’s overdue for a trip to Florida. For 13 years, the Grammy-winning rockabilly guitarist and big-band frontman has been packing theaters coast to coast for his annual Christmas Rocks Tour. But somehow, he keeps skipping this area....
Updated: 11 hours ago
Black Friday, Cyber Monday ticket deals in Tampa Bay: Amy Grant, Diana Krall, 98 Degrees and more

Black Friday, Cyber Monday ticket deals in Tampa Bay: Amy Grant, Diana Krall, 98 Degrees and more

This Black Friday weekend, you can head to your local shopping center and fight traffic to get the perfect gift. Or you can stay at home by your computer and give the gift of entertainment.A handful of Tampa Bay concert venues are offering ticket dea...
Published: 11/22/17
This week’s best Tampa Bay concerts: Brian Setzer, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith, 21 Savage, more

This week’s best Tampa Bay concerts: Brian Setzer, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith, 21 Savage, more

SWINGIN’ AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE: Brian Setzer OrchestraWhen you spend 13 straight Thanksgivings on the road, you build some traditions with your crew. "We get a big ballroom," said Brian Setzer. "I don’t know how many turkeys we go through, but ev...
Published: 11/22/17
Michael W. Smith talks Christmas songs, gun control, his friendship with Bono and more

Michael W. Smith talks Christmas songs, gun control, his friendship with Bono and more

On the morning after the mass shooting at a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Michael W. Smith had pain in his voice."It's awful, it's just awful," said the Grammy-winning Christian music superstar. "Everybody's going to have their opinion...
Published: 11/22/17
John McLaughlin talks about his final tour, jam bands, reviving the Mahavishnu Orchestra and more

John McLaughlin talks about his final tour, jam bands, reviving the Mahavishnu Orchestra and more

As you might imagine, quite a lot of thought goes into planning your final tour ever."It's not a light decision to not tour again, but that really is the situation," said John McLaughlin, the guitarist behind legendary jazz-rock fusion outfit the Mah...
Published: 11/22/17
Teen idol David Cassidy, ‘Partridge Family’ star, dies at 67

Teen idol David Cassidy, ‘Partridge Family’ star, dies at 67

David Cassidy, the former star of "The Partridge Family" TV hit of the 1970s and a reluctant teen idol to the boomer generation, died Tuesday evening of liver failure, his publicist confirmed. He was 67.The singer and actor died in Fort Lauderdale af...
Published: 11/21/17
Michael W. Smith talks about Texas shooting, Christmas music and Bono

Michael W. Smith talks about Texas shooting, Christmas music and Bono

On the morning after the mass shooting at a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, Michael W. Smith had pain in his voice. "It’s awful, it’s just awful," said the Grammy-winning Christian music superstar. "Everybody’s going to have their opinio...
Published: 11/21/17
The Eagles, Jimmy Buffett coming to Camping World Stadium in Orlando

The Eagles, Jimmy Buffett coming to Camping World Stadium in Orlando

Now you know what to get your dad for Christmas.The Eagles are hitting the road in 2018, and they're bringing along one of their best friends from the '70s: Jimmy Buffett. The tour will hit Orlando's Camping World Stadium on April 14 before moving to...
Published: 11/21/17
Legendary guitarist John McLaughlin talks about his last tour

Legendary guitarist John McLaughlin talks about his last tour

As you might imagine, quite a lot of thought goes into planning your final tour ever. "It’s not a light decision to not tour again, but that really is the situation," said John McLaughlin, the guitarist behind legendary jazz-rock fusion outfit...
Published: 11/21/17
Musicians unite at AMAs in wake of tumultuous year

Musicians unite at AMAs in wake of tumultuous year

The 2017 American Music Awards marked a night of unison, positive vibes and American pride as musicians spoke about coming together in a year dominated by natural disasters, violence and divisive politics.Kelly Clarkson and Pink kicked off the three-...
Published: 11/20/17