October 5, 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Foxygen is gaining a lot of traction lately for their appearances on late-night talk shows. Even David Letterman is currently obsessed, possibly more than he was with Future Islands. And he has every right to be — both bands know how to bring energized, excellent performances. The only difference is Foxygen is batshit crazy live.
I don’t think I’ll forget their 9:30 Club performance for the rest of my life. Never have I been to a concert that made me feel like I’d traveled back in time. Foxygen had ’60s gogo dancers and guitarists in ’70s style polka dot shirts, and lead singer Sam France was rocking pink-streaked hair, an oversized blazer, and Iggy Pop skinny jeans certainly inspired by 1985.
The concert aesthetic was something out of this world. I suppose the band knows this, too — their latest album was titled ...And Star Power. However, I credit Sam France with most of Foxygen’s star power. There’s no doubt about it, his stage antics separate Foxygen from every other band out there at the moment. Kicking, punching, jumping, humping speakers, moshing with audience members, crowd surfing — no wonder France had a cast on his arm for the performance. The kid literally bled for his art onstage that night, opening up old scrape scabs as he kneeled on the stage serenading the brave souls in the front row. Even crazier, this was not a one-time thing for France. As per reputation, France puts 110 percent into Foxygen’s concerts to transform them into borderline bacchanals.
Kicking off the concert with Letterman fave “How Can You Really,” Foxygen had everyone at the first chorus. Stumbling across the stage, France must have been a spectacle to watch for most fans, whose ages ranged from 16 year olds with Led Zeppelin tees to their 60 year old fathers who probably felt their sons’ age again. That’s Foxygen for you — flirting with psychedelic sounds, but not sticking to any genre beyond indie rock, and at that, vaguely.
They continued with another genreless track, “On Blue Mountain” from their last album We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace & Magic. By this point, France was strangling himself with his microphone, an action he would continue on and off for the rest of the night until the cables tangled into a knot so intricate boy scouts would be proud. Song after song, Foxygen played with no lulls, not even during mellow tracks like “Coulda Been My Love” and the ’70s-esque “Shuggie” (stylized “$huggie” on the setlist for kicks).
Even though Foxygen played about 10 songs, their set kept escalating in excitement. If I had to pick a peak, it would definitely be their opener Dub Thompson crashing the set. Between drummer Evan Laffer running onstage with an open bottle of champagne and guitarist Matt Pulos making out with France front and center, the audience freaked out. The best part? Everyone just rolled with it. I guess that, too, is Foxygen for you — doing one insane thing after another until it becomes normalcy.