Live: Foxygen + Alvvays @ Frannz, Berlin (DE), 05/11/14

Psych kids gone wild: Foxygen performing as their new punk alter egos Star Power (© G. Koynov)
Psych kids gone wild: Foxygen performing as their punk alter egos Star Power (© G. Koynov)

With their second album We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace And Magic, Sam France and Jonathan Rado alias Foxygen became last year’s fuzzy-haired psych darlings. This year, though, they are determined to part with that image. With the release of new album … And Star Power, the Californian duo announced having joined a punk band, which however cannot really be heard on the record itself. Instead they carry their sound deeper into the abyss of their own strange minds, take time for jamming around (and when I say time I mean timeStar Power is 1 hour 21 minutes long), take breaks for radio announcements, and generally wave goodbye to well-known song structures. So what one could expect from their live show is a bunch of kids on drugs jamming around endlessly … which, almost, is exactly what happened. Well, I forgot to mention that half of those kids have glamrock eye make-up on (if male) or are glitter-glad, synchronised dancing background singers (if female), and that frontman Sam France has apparently reincarnated as Iggy Pop, taking the stage shirtless with a soon-gone blazer on, shaking his hips and jumping into the crowd or joining the synced dancing of the female vocal trio. As on the album, the set can hardly be divided into single songs, apart from stand-out tracks such as the opener and current hit single How Can You Really, last album favourite Shuggie, and not to forget the finale with San Francisco. The tiny stage, meanwhile, is in a state of mayhem while the ca. 8 musicians somehow manage to run from one end to the other all the time, switching instruments as they go – the crowd at the sold out Frannz is completely losing it, accordingly. Their only German gig this tour at a much too small venue is truly a case of “be there or be square”. And I haven’t even mentioned that with Alvvays, they even had a more than decent opener. In fact I believe it was the Canadians’ first German show, and how I love bands that bring a new and hot support band that one has not just heard of but is even excited to see. With their laid back indie-pop with a scruffy 90s vibe and singer Molly Rankin’s sweet voice they really hit a nerve, but maybe thanks to the impressive show of the main act, their performance seems a little bland in retrospect.

There clearly was no shortage of dramatic poses at Foxygen's gig (© G. Koynov)
There clearly was no shortage of dramatic poses at Foxygen’s gig (© G. Koynov)

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