Indie pop group Foster the People ‘pumps’ up audience at 9:30 club

Foster the People released the summers biggest hit,
SYDNEY GORE / THE EAGLE
Foster the People released the summers biggest hit, “Pumped Up Kicks,” which recently drew controversy for its dark lyrics that depict a school shooting.
 By Sydney Gore
Eagle Contributing Writer
October 4, 2011

Foster the People released the summers biggest hit, “Pumped Up Kicks,” which recently drew controversy for its dark lyrics that depict a school shooting.

Nobody particularly cares for Mondays, but when Foster The People is playing, it doesn’t matter what day of the week it is. For the past few months, the band has been touring nonstop across the country and overseas.

Monday, Sept. 26, Foster The People performed two shows at the 9:30 club, an early show at 6 p.m. and a late show at 9:30 p.m.

Cults, the long-haired, indie-pop band from Manhattan, opened the late show with their latest single, “Abducted.” In the background, a black and white silent film was projected. Frontwoman Madeline Follin was hard to hear with her high, soft-spoken voice, but she entertained the crowd with her cute swaying and shuffling.

Most of the crowd stood still, but a small group of boys in the middle flailed their arms and danced, catching Follin’s attention. Everyone else swayed and bobbed their heads to the beats. Lead guitarist Brian Oblivion energized the crowd when he was handed his first beer of the night on stage.

“D.C. crowds are always the best, you don’t [mess] around,” Oblivion said.

Follin’s microphone was not fixed until “You Know What I Mean,” the third to last song of their set, but it got the audience’s attention back. The next song, “Bumper” caused hysteria of dancing fever, pleasing Follin so much that she jokingly suggested the crowd start a circle pit. During “Go Outside,” everyone sang along. The bass chords were bad to the bone, but the xylophone contrasted them with a light, airy feel.

Foster the People kicked off their set with “Houdini,” causing an explosion of dancing. In fact, the dancing never stopped as lead singer Mark Foster challenged the crowd with his wild dance moves. Foster constantly interacted with the crowd, directly looking fans in the eye and pointing at them.

“We’ve been on tour for nine months now. It’s our last U.S. tour,” Foster said.

He then shared how the band raised money for AIDS relief with their “Do Good” bus, a charity organization that sends a bus around to different cities. Once potential do-gooders get on the bus, it takes them to a mysterious location, be it a soup kitchen or a community service event to help out a local charity.

With flashy lights and robotic sounds, “Life On The Nickel” added a psychedelic layer to the show. Bassist Cubbie Frank jammed on stage right, coming up to the barricade and smiling at fans. Drummer Mark Pontius banged away on stage left. Foster ran around the stage, switching from microphones to keyboards to drums to cowbell. As he transitioned from one song to the next, he kept the energy level high and spoke to the audience.

“We had a great day off in D.C. yesterday,” Foster said, “It’s really moving, something just kind of hit me here … you guys have a lot of influence around the world. I just want to encourage you to get behind that. We are the next generation. This is the place to be.”

After the crowd erupted in cheers and applause, Foster The People slowed it down with “I Would Do Anything.” Next, they played “Broken Jaw,” a song with powerful, booming drums. Every song was so upbeat that people couldn’t stop moving — no one wanted the epic dance party to end.

Foster The People briefly departed from the stage and then returned for an encore to play Foster’s favorite song, “Ruby.” The ballad was beautifully tragic, but the crowd behaved rudely. Fans along the barricade were completely tuned in, but towards the back, shouting and conversations could be heard, tainting the tone the ballad was setting.

To end the show on a good note, Foster The People finished with their hot single “Pumped Up Kicks” which caused another hot flash of dancing fever that spread from the pit to the balcony. Foster did his signature dance moves, consisting of shoulder shakes and feet shuffling. At one point, the band stopped singing and handed the chorus over to the crowd, which they sang flawlessly.

Foster The People did not disappoint — they sounded just as satisfying live as they did the first time you heard their EP on the Internet.

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