Foster the People at House of Blues Houston
Foster The People took the stage Tuesday night at Houston’s House of Blues shortly following a rugged, garage-rock-grunge performance by opening act, Cherry Glazerr. Venturing down the road to be with those who missed their set a few days prior at Austin City Limits (or those simply wanting a second dose), the group came out strong with a hearty performance of Pay the Man off their new album Sacred Hearts Club and followed it shortly with Helena Beat, a tune from their 2011 album Torches.
With three albums under their belt and six years since their first release, Foster the People had no shortage of material to showcase. Complementing their set perfectly were the stunning lights that brought individual members in and out of focus throughout the set. The visuals were minimalistic but impactful. An oversized “neon sign” draped across the back curtain that read “Sacred Hearts Club” in what appeared to be human writing. If an atmosphere reminiscent of long nights spent under neon bar signs was desired, the group certainly achieved it.
Of particular note halfway through the evening, was lead singer Mark Foster’s brief monologue about the current state of America. Utilizing the stage as his literal platform, the singer opened by stating how lucky he felt to be on tour and spend time in the studio the past three years. After a brief applause, however, his tone became more somber as he noted the societal and political changes he has seen in that time. While writing Sacred Hearts Club, Foster read the paper each morning before going into the studio and felt as if something new and bad was happening every day. He noted that the political situation in our country has become “so layered and so deep, such a hot topic, that when people bring it up, they’re screaming . . saying ‘I’m right. You’re wrong.’ . . ripping families apart. Everyone has a self-righteous attitude about it.” In short, society has become increasingly divisive and the media has provided no relief.
This being the fourth U.S. tour for the group in the last five months, Foster claims, however, that his travels have in fact revealed a different story: society is experiencing considerably more unity than the media portrays. Commenting on the recent tragedy in Las Vegas, the singer closed with this:
"I’ve watched videos from what just happened in Vegas. Initially what I saw was terror and evil. All these people running for their lives and this evil guy, or multiple guys, we don’t know – that’s another story. What I saw seconds later was hundreds of people putting their lives at risk. Heroes. People are inherently good. It’s up to us to show people how to love. It’s up to us to bring our country back together. It’s up to us to bring people together.”
After seamlessly running through 18 tracks, the group left the stage with noisy reverb, distortion and looping sounds resonating throughout the venue for nearly two minutes. Sensing an encore in the cards, the crowd began chanting “one more song . . . one more song . . . one more song” until their cries were answered with staggered return to the stage. One by one the individual members picked up their instruments and began to build what would be one of the final two songs of the night, Harden the Paint. To close, the band transitioned into Loyal Like Sid & Nancy. Playing a total of 20 songs – only one of which was a cover, Blitzkrieg Bop by the Ramones – the set lasted a little over an hour and a half.
Photography and Coverage by Marshall Heins II
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