Foster The People
's latest tour stop in support of their recent release, "Supermodel," landed for two nights at New York's prestigious United Palace Theatre. Let me start off by saying, if you havent had the chance to experience a show at the theatre, then I suggest you find the time to do so. I really had no idea why they would schedule FTP at a place like this, and to be honest before visting the venue, I had kept asking why in the world are the playing this place. Once I walked in, I quickly realized why. The design, the colors, the detail, are unlike any other cocnert hall I have ever attended. Coupled with an amazing sound and you have one very prominant venue I am glad to check off my bucket list.
In keeping with the colorful and detailed point of view, it brings me right into the night's set from FTP. It was a massive stage and I wondered how six musicians would pull this off without seeming so spread out. Their stage had white illuminated iceburg looking props - something you would see in the old school rudolph the red nosed reindeer story when they met the abominable snow man. Their opening song of "Pseudologia Fantastica" was the perfect entry as to what to expect from the evening. As the band took the stage, Mark Foster stood center stage mostly eyes closed, slightly swaying to the groove of the songs with arms strecthed wide open. The multi-bright colored lights shining from, what seemed like every direction, was a very powerful opening statement, which is what, in many ways, the show became - a statement.
Followed by "Miss You" and "Life On The Nickel" you got the feeling this was FTP's pregame warmup. Only having two albums doesn't make you a supergroup, but having a super amount of hits on those albums is helpful and many of the songs that followed were on torches the first release. One of those hits, "Helena Beat," got the entire place up and singing. This is what they came to hear. Marks voice was spot on, the beat masters of the band, Jacob Fink (bass) and Mark Pontius (drums), kept the pace and everyone was moving along just fine. The entire evening all the band members were moving all over the stage, sometimes they would even huddle together to play a song in the corners by the drums.
But then the night changed..it became a statement. Look full disclosure, you can have an opinion, you want to make statements go right ahead, just dont ask me to pay you money for it. Right before " Dont Stop" (which was the final song pre-encore), Mark addressed the crowd about some sort of spirit we had, and we need to know the truth and enbrace it. To be honest I tuned out whatever nonsense he was talking about. The band returns to the stage for the encore. Mark asks the crowd if we were aware of the news in seattle, regarding another school shooting. "It's the tip of the iceberg." he said, and instead of launching into their mega-hit "Pumped Up Kicks" Foster asked for a moment of silence. The crowd went silent until you had some people chanting USA! USA!
I like FTP - I really do. I think they put on a great show and think they are catchy and talented, but I grew up listening to Springsteen and his political statement crap and that's why I can't stand him now. In a day and age where there are too few bands actually selling music these days and "making it," don't stop with the music, but please stop with the statements.
Photo Credit: Mark Brown B51 Photography