It’s hard not to join in with the goofy charade that they push forward.
It’s Christmas in the Lantern. The blue lit stage is adorned with silver tinsel, green lights, brightly lit stars, a cross, glittery wreath, and multi-coloured fairy lights. Oh, and of course H Hawkline, the hearty Welsh post punk trio supporting the much anticipated main course Foxygen.
The performance was wry and humorous due to the repeated ringing of the lead vocalist Huw Gwynfryn Evans’ phone. Shifting the focus H Hawkline played off mild soft rock which taps into an experimental vein, especially with songs like ‘Everybody’s On The Line’, but compared to the excess presented by Sam Frances in the main show it didn’t seem to fit together. Yet it was a saccharine starter to get the mood going, filled with shimmering riffs rippled over a number of heavenly pop gems lined with a sharp edge.
Introduced by jolly fairground music, we transition to ‘We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic’, a full on bombardment of eclectic noise barely filtered through the sound-system, which seemed unsuitable for this song as most of it was so loud it couldn’t be heard. Yet already in this first song Sam France who is infamous for his onstage behaviour is halfway to climbing the stage, walking across the sides of the walls, kicking things into a runaway motion with the help of his three dancing backing singers.
Second song we have ‘On Blue Mountain’ complete with candles in front of the flowery mic stands, followed by the swooning melodies of ‘Coulda Been My Love’. Frances regularly jumps into the crowd mingling with the front row, and sticks the microphone down his pants so much through the show that there’s a noticeable dent in the metal grill at the top halfway through. A brief intermission in the middle follows an short-lived attempted cover of ‘Let It Be’ by The Beatles, which leads to Frances tearing a clown doll apart and leaving the head on the mic temporarily while he gathered his thoughts for the swirling high of ‘Shuggie’ with its twisted piano and ecstatic crescendos.
One broken mirror, three shirt changes, and fifteen seconds of fame for two stagecrashers who jumped on during the intermission where ‘San Francisco’ was played on vinyl. Foxygen don’t possess that sort of gravitas that many indie bands try and impose upon the audience, instead their charm is so infectious it’s hard not to join in with the goofy charade that they push forward.
What stood out here on the whole was Foxygen played every song like it was their last, and Sam Frances danced to every song like it was his last day on Earth. Things such as the exaggerated moves of the singers, and the feigned surprise from the singers when the band argued over a missing five in a game of Go Fish, which ended with one member walking off did feel staged and well rehearsed. However that didn’t dampen what was not just a great gig, but a fantastic performance from the wildest frontrunners of experimental psych pop. So, here’s to a very merry Christmas.
Check out ‘San Francisco’ right here: