FAN ON THE GROUND: FOALS, MANCHESTER ARENA



Photo by Jamie Neely used under Attribution Licence.

We caught up with three eager gig-goers at last weekend’s Foals show at Manchester Arena – Chris, 33 from Manchester, Caroline, 39 from Blackpool and Dean, in his 50s from Manchester!

Have a look at what our latest Fans On The Ground had to say about the gig:

What’s your opinion of the live music scene in the city?

CHRIS: All great bands come to Manchester’s now booming live scene, with many top venues across this great city. From small venues like Gorilla to an always packed out Manchester Arena.

CAROLINE: I travel from Blackpool, which I might add is getting more credible artists on but could always do with more! Manchester is great and not too far away, although last train is often 11 so I’ve missed a few closing numbers! This time though, I stayed in Hyde at a friend’s. The Manchester scene is awesome, I do prefer the more personal gig though so Manchester arena I feel is a bit of a monster!

DEAN: Manchester is a thriving and outstanding city in terms of live music – from the local pub scene, through larger venues such as the Apollo up to the Manchester Arena and then to the open air arenas of the Etihad and Old Trafford cricket club. The music scene is as diverse and as colourful and vibrant as the many cultures. There is something for everyone and every taste.

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The Deaf Institute, Manchester

Any tips on pre-show spots for food/drink?

CHRIS: With the ever growing Northern Quarter only a stone’s throw away from the Arena you are spoilt for choice. Pre drinks can be enjoyed in the popular Odd Bar which also has a relation on Oxford Road, on the walking route from the train station to all three Academys.

Apotecha is a delight to enjoy a cocktail or two before a gig, the cocktail menu is extensive, with some good local beers also on tap and in bottles.

If it is Tapas you enjoy then look no further than the popular Evuna, you would think you was in a back street in Barcelona. Other great choices are Almost Famous which serve a great selection of Burgers and next door Lust Liqour and Burn all within 10 minutes’ walk of the Arena!

CAROLINE: Names fail me now, but have been known to have a couple around Spinningfields and The Printworks first.

DEAN: Manchester is full of bars and restaurants for every taste, cuisine and style….. We went to the Corn Exchange…full of different styles of restaurants. Wonderful – give it a try!! Drinks – love the Alchemist at Spinningfields.

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The Printworks, Manchester.
Photo by Smabs Sputzer used under Attribution Licence

First time you ever heard the band/first track you heard by the band?

CHRIS: The first Foals track I ever heard was ‘Balloons’ from ‘Antidotes’ and it was great to still see it on the set-list on Saturday. It went down a treat with the strong crowd.

CAROLINE: First time I heard them was probably about 5 years ago, and I’ll be honest they passed me by. I can’t remember the first track, however when this last album was released I’ve been looking through the back catalogue and I love ‘Big Big Love’ – a totally underrated track. Latest album has to be ‘Mountain At My Gates’, it provokes thoughts of being positive and conquering life!

DEAN: The first time I heard the Foals was on MTV, performing ‘My Number’.

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Photo by Caroline Richardson

Have you seen the band before?

CHRIS: It is the second time I have seen Foals and the band have come a long way since the first from Manchester’s Night and Day to now playing Arenas and headlining festivals!

CAROLINE: No but I will again, I’d love to see them in a smaller venue.

DEAN: Not seen the band before but love the passion and energy; so knew it was gonna be a good gig.

What made you come to the show tonight?

CHRIS: After hearing the latest album ‘What Went Down’ it was clear to me Foals had come such a long way from playing pubs and Academys. Tonight is where they proved they belong in Arenas and top of festival bills.

CAROLINE: Purely reviewing the latest album my friend and I fell in love with them, and as soon as a tour was announced I was on it…. however I failed at the first hurdle and missed tickets for Liverpool. I thought our hopes of seeing them were dashed and then… hurrah, more tour dates released and I was more successful! Two tickets in the bag!

DEAN: Bought the tickets as a Christmas present for my partner knowing she would take me with her… win win!

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Manchester Arena

Best moment of the night?

CHRIS: There were a number of great moments in the night: the booming intro of ‘Snake Oil’ which truly works as a great opener to a great set-list, the crowd pleaser and truly catchy ‘My Number’ got everyone singing along. It was great to see Foals playing lots of their older songs – ‘Balloons’ and the set closer ‘Two Steps, Twice’ were great highlights in the set.

CAROLINE: Yannis physically throwing himself in the crowd… brilliant. And it made it feel like a smaller venue, not that probably 20,000 people were stood behind us!

DEAN: Extended version of Inhaler.

Best track performed?

CHRIS: They saved it ‘til the encore but the thunderous title track ‘What Went Down’ from their latest album really was sensational, the crowd enjoyed every single second of it.

CAROLINE: ‘My Number’… totally got the eager crowd going right from the start.

DEAN: ‘What Went Down’

Summarise the gig in one sentence.

CHRIS: On this form, Foals have many more  Arena tours in them and are surely future Glastonbury headliners.

CAROLINE: An inexorable smack around the senses, from the head thrashing riffs, spine tingling choruses and the sweet smell of Yannis as he floated on a bed of adoring disciples … Epic!

DEAN: A fantastic gig full of passion, energy and quality musicianship.

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If you’re interested in being our next Fan On The Ground, keep your eyes on our Twitter account and the hashtag #SeeFOTG! Until next time…

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