Madison was ready for Foster The People Saturday night, with a line stretching all the way from the Plaza Tavern to The Orpheum. Despite the 11 a.m. football game, the crowd was energetic and ready to let loose.
First on stage was synth-pop band Palm Springsteen. Heavy on echo vocal effects, lead singer Nick Hinman had an electric energy on stage. He kept his intensity throughout the set and had me looking them up on Spotify after the show (unfortunately only two of their songs were available.) This band of four had great chemistry and knew how to get a crowd warmed up.
Despite the classical music blaring out of the speakers between bands, everyone was upbeat and ready to hear FTP’s new album Sacred Hearts Club. Handwritten-styled neon lights read Sacred Hearts Club, and as soon as they came to life, the crowd moved in closer to the stage where lead singer Matt Foster — clad in a leather jacket, silver necklace and greased hair (see John Travolta, “Grease”) — came out on stage with the band following.
“Helena Beat” was their second song in and got the crowd amped. FTP hit this song hard, making everyone dance. Right after, they rolled out “SHC” from the new album. Compared to previous work, their new album had a surprisingly techno sound with a lot of experimental, even intergalactic, sounds. Performing live allowed them to warp parts of some of their songs and play with different riffs. Listeners could feel the bass pounding in their chest, likely due to the two drum sets used.
FTP kept the crowed hyped, covering a Ramones classic, “Blitzkrieg Bop,” near the middle of the show. By then, my ankles were throbbing from the “Jump Around” earlier in the day, and then once again jumping while singing “Hey ho, let’s go.” But, life’s short — and there was too much more of the concert to enjoy to be worrying about that.
At the pivotal point in the show where the lead singer took a break to speak to the crowd, everyone was feeling good. The singer explained that he used the quote, “Music is the language of God,” to fuel this tour. His message was that live music is so important because it brings people from all different walks of life to experience the same thing at once. Unity, love and connectedness all stem from music — kudos to FTP for uplifting a crowd during a time when we all really need it.
After his feel good interlude, they went right back to making the speakers thud with “Loyal Like Sid & Nancy.” At times, it felt like a rock concert rather than what the indie-pop hit “Pumped up Kicks” led me to believe I would hear. Of course, when “Pumped up Kicks” was played, the crowd was singing in harmony and finishing the words.
When FTP finished their set and walked off stage, it was evident “Houdini” would close the show as the encore. This was partially true as they blended it together with “Call It What You Want.”
FTP gave us a break from worrying about the current social climate. Instead, Saturday night was spent listening to passionate music that let us unwind from a crazy week.