Foster the People
San Francisco, CA
October 14, 2011
Foster the People: Pop is Not Dead
IF there is a viral band in the Indie Pop world, it is Foster the People. FTP is one of the hottest acts going right now. The Hipsters dig'em, the Tweens dig'em, the Bridge and Tunnel Crowd dig'em, the Old Folks dig'em. And their controversial hit "Pumped Up Kicks" is continuing to get massive airplay on dozens of Sirius channels. So, it was not a huge surprise that they sold-out two nights at the Fillmore in only minutes. My expectations were pretty high heading to the Fillmore despite the band's 2009 vintage and despite having one only album. Would FTheP live up to the hype? Spoiler Alert: Yes, they would. All props to FosterTP for bringing the goods.
Unfortunately, this MV&R Tale of the Tape begins with a cautionary note: Sheba Piano Lounge is a good Ethiopian restaurant but the two-hour delivery-time is not for those rushing to make showtime- unless, of course, you arrive 2 1/2 hours earlier or you really love Ethiopian food. But, once we bid adieu to the kids and arrived at the Fillmore, all was forgotten. And despite our tardiness, we still had to wait out the rather forgettable opening act, Reptar. Of course, that gave us and the rest of the crowd, a lively cross-section of Hipsters, Old Folks, Frat Boys, more time to get amped on Four Loko or Red Bull and vodka.
Once FosterTP hit the stage, there was plenty of
drunken pogo-dancing, hand-waving and singing along. Everything that makes a good show fun. FTP started with a high-energy, heavily rhythmic "Houdini" and proceeded to play the entirety of their one album over the next hour. Several songs did seem rather repetitive as if you could substitute a chorus from one song for the next and no one would notice. But, there were plenty of catchy hooks to go around. Mark Foster began his musical career writing advertising jingles and it can show from time to time. But the man can pen a damn good hook.
More importantly, the performance really rocked and was significantly more fun than their
somewhat tepid recordings. This always bodes well for an indie pop band's future. And it kept crowd's enthusiasm at fever pitch in great anticipation of the pumped-up Pumped Up Kicks that capped the show. It is still unclear to me whether the song about a high-school shooting is meant to be darkly ironic or a study in pathology. I don't think either view adequately explains the lyrics. In either case, it is dark but also catchy and whistle-y. And difficult to get out of your head while driving home from a damn good show.
Photo2: Senior Correspondent Edie H
Photo4: Award-winning photographer: Joe S