It must be a daunting prospect, performing in a venue as grand, open and cavernous as the Royal Albert Hall. With the over 5,000-strong audience crammed against the walls in polite seating, it leaves a dark, blank vacuum between performer and people.
Foals’ solution is to fill this gap with a storm: thundering instruments and lightning strobes. They crank up the volume and burn the void with colour.
New album, Holy Fire, is heavier than what came before, and the noise knows no bounds tonight. Tracks like Inhaler and Providence rip through the place as frontman Yannis Philippakis screams his lungs raw while simultaneously dashing along the seated aisles and diving into the carnage of the standing crowd.
But even older tracks like Two Steps, Twice are given new chainsaw guitars that pulverise any delicacy that once laid within their carefully-plucked rhythms, giving them a new lease of life and pushing the audience to shout louder and get the hell out of their seats.
A frantic ball of energy who has so far violently kicked his mic stand over at least five times (much to the annoyance of the techie who must continually crawl onstage to stand it back up again), Yannis gives extra fervour to debut album track Electric Bloom as he takes what appears to be his whole body weight to a floor tom, pounding it with such mad rage that he manages to crack an entire bag-full of drum sticks.
He throws himself into the crowd again, and is this time swallowed up for quite some time. He appears possessed by his need to express himself.
One-time favourites from first album Antidotes are now skipped, but their absence is hardly noticed with the calibre of recent additions to the set like My Number and Milk & Black Spiders, which receive as much adoration as any rendition of Cassius once did.
Foals’ sound is evolving and expanding. If anything has been proven by this glorious assault of distortion, lasers and strobes, it’s that they are only just getting started. This band has it in them to push until they self-destruct.