If you’ve been following me on Twitter or paying attention to this site, you may have noticed that I’m a fan of Foals from Oxford, England. I had a chance to seem them last year in Chicago (which was an amazing show), and recently I just saw them in Portland. A few of you asked how I thought that show was, and I figured it might make for a somewhat interesting post.
To me the highlight was not the show itself but the journey. Not sure how many of you readers are with a significant other AND have kids, but I fall in that bracket. I’m happily married with two kids. What that simply translates to… I rarely spend quality time with my wife without kids clammering all over us. My wife really got into Foals, which has been fun. I mean I play her stuff all the time, but she got this band immediately and is super into them. So when I heard that Foals were playing Portland, I thought it would be super fun to hang with the wife and make a road trip to Portland.
Some thought we were crazy to drive 9 hours one way for a show… yeah.. 9 hours one way. Sucks to live in the middle of nowhere, but I thought the journey would be fun. I was right. Beef jerky, smart ass comments and loud music the whole way. It was a blast!
The show was at the Wonder Ballroom. I saw Mogwai there a few years ago, and I remember it was a good venue. The opening bands.. in my opinion… sucked pretty severely. Maybe it just wasn’t a good fit. Not sure. Foals came out and Jimmy had issues with his guitar on the first song. Equipment issues seems to be a slight issue with both Yannis and Jimmy, but what got me, was the monitor mix sound guy. He would just leave, and you could see Yannis getting pissed when he was trying to dial in the stage mix and looking for the mix guy, and no one was there. You could tell, that the mood was getting tense, and that was apparent in the performance. All I kept thinking – Thanks monitor man for fucking up this show. Thank you very much.
Foals put on a great show even through the issues. I’m sure many many people in the audience were oblivious with the situation, but I definitely could relate (on a small level) of how that feels, and that can make a performance pretty sour from the group’s point of view. The positives were high and many as well. When things were locking it, it was unbelievable. I’m a sucker for guitar interplay and they have that in spades. The set list was similar to the show in Chicago, and the energy / response they were able to create from the audience is intense.
Since this is a effects blog I want to see if anything has changed. In Chicago, I had the opportunity to see the boards up close and talk with Yannis. This time, not so lucky, but I was able to take a photo of Yannis’ board from pretty close. Overall, it looks the same, but there is one unidentified pedal in there, maybe you can help ID it. He was definitely using it a lot and I had the impression it was a OD of some sort, based on when it was hit and what I was hearing, but I’m not sure.
What I’m able to see the following on this board shot:
The Unknown Pedal appears to be blue. 2 footswitches. 5 knobs and 2 toggle switches. This is where the Klon Centaur was in the past, but couldn’t see if the Klon was on the other side of it. I’ve also seen the EHX Nano Grail in the position as well, I doubt it’s a reverb.. but maybe.
The unknown pedal was a Strymon blueSky Reverberator pedal, thanks Alex! Additionally, I had this photo sent to me: