Foster The People: The Ritz, Manchester

Following the 2014 release of their latest album ‘Super Model’, Californian indie pop band Foster The People stopped off in Manchester for a sold out, one off show at The Ritz. It has been a few years since Foster The People last played a show here in Manchester, but with the room filled all the way from front to back with excited faces, they have not lost a single person from their following.

Support for the night came from the talented trio, Prides, from Glasgow who were perfect for getting the audience going. Crowd pleaser ‘The Seeds You Sow’ filled the Ritz with an electronic synth-pop sound featuring rolling drums and repetitious vocals, making it easy for even those who weren’t familiar with the band to sing along. Lyrics ‘oh, there was a time when I was caught up in you’ were relatable for all who have ever been hung up on someone – and let’s face it, that’s most of us.

‘Messiah’ opened with glittering melodies, accompanied by underlying fuzzy electronics. Also featuring repetitive lyrics ‘so say it, say it / say you’ll be my messiah’ makes it another track that’s easy to sing along to. The three members showed great passion in performing on stage, not forgetting to connect with the crowd between the upbeat, danceable songs.

Gracing the audience 25 minutes behind schedule and with much anticipation from the crowd, Foster The People entered stage, kicking off the set with ‘Miss You’ from the 2011 ‘Torches’ debut album. Featuring electrifying instrumentals and sporadic rhythms, accompanied by strobe lighting, you could tell straight away that this was going to be an incredible, well thought out set.

By song number 3, ‘Are You What You Want To Be’, there was a huge amount of energy in the crowd, seemingly brought on by the upbeat melodies comprised of raw guitars and punchy percussion. Fans of all ages began to climb on top of each other shoulders, jumping and yelling the lyrics at the top of their lungs in a hope to be noticed by frontman Mark Foster.

‘Ask Yourself’ brought an acoustic guitar to the stage calming the crowd, but of course, only momentarily. Lyrics ‘And you say that dreamers always get what they desire / Well I’ve found the more I want the less I’ve got / Is this the life you’ve been waiting for? / Or are you hoping that you’ll be where you want with a little more?’ brought a true sense of escapism and an almost ethereal atmosphere alongside the delicately pieced together symphonies and Foster’s dreamy vocal hooks.

A few songs later in a very full set list, ‘Coming of Age’ opened with ringing guitars and a bouncing bass-line that stood out above everything, conjuring a huge reaction from the crowd. This was followed by ‘Houdini’, which conjured an even bigger reaction with it’s shimmering synths and strong vocals, reminiscent of ‘70s disco – not something you expect from a band dubbed as indie pop, but a refreshing sound to the ears of a now extremely chaotic and sweaty audience.

‘Pumped Up Kicks‘ was almost anathematic and by far the most popular of the set. Surf riffs initiated circle mosh pits in the centre of the Ritz, singing the unforgettable hook-line ‘All the other kids with their pumped-up kicks’ along to the instrumentals. This was much to the amusement of Foster as he whistled the tune and announced “Manchester, you guys got some pipes on you, don’t you?”

The closing song for the night was ‘Helena Beat’ and the band left the last notes looping before exiting the stage. At first, it looked like Foster The People were not going to perform an encore as a number of technicians appeared. But this soon changed and the band came back on stage to the cheers of the crowd.

They encored with a mix of old and new, playing ‘Best Friend’ from the latest album and ‘Don’t Stop’ from their debut album. The guitar riffs and licks of ‘Don’t Stop’ had fans throwing drinks from the balconies onto the crowd below, finally bringing out that wild streak that Manchester music lovers are known for in a mass sing-along.

“Manchester, you guys have been incredible tonight. Thank you so much!” said Foster before taking a few snaps of the audience and heading off stage after a more than successful and phenomenally received show.