Foals, Wild Beasts, Maps and Atlases

Paul Cook 29/09/2008

Amidst the excited and fidgety crowd inside the UEA, the crowd stood first in a jovial, eagerly anticipating mood to witness the poppy, folk stylings of Maps and Atlases, an Illinois-based four-piece pop/math-rock band. Floating harmonies, playful riffs and consistently inventive drums all form a solid base for Dave Davison's fantastically raw, heartfelt vocals. If you are looking for a folk-pop band with a talent for thoughtful songwriting, look no further than Maps and Atlases.

To follow were a band that felt more like the second part of a double-headline bill rather than a support act. Wild Beasts delivered an awe-inspiring warm-up full of trademark soaring tunes and delectably precise vocals. Devil's Crayon, with its intricate guitars and virtuoso vocal delivery was a joy to witness. Foals certainly made a bold decision with Maps and Atlases, one which paid off, as well as a re-assuring decision on Wild Beasts who mellowed and calmed the crowd before the headline act exploded onto the stage to dazzle us all with an instrumental and lyrical master-class.

Foals, a band who despite the hype have remained contented and modest, and whose debut album Antidotes was a refreshing, exciting record of depth and innovation, entered the stage to the sounds of a thousand people chanting for them to appear. It was from this point until the end that Foals played a frenetic, occasionally chaotic show. Favourites Balloons and Hummer went down a storm, and the rare live performance of tracks such as Tron made for an unforgettable show. Every track was performed with professionalism and precision with interludes that were filled with loops and riffs that will feature on the band's sophomore effort next year.

Ending on the new single, released just this week, Olympic Airways, Foals left the stage after an hour-and-a-half, having played just about everything they've ever recorded. A truly impressive night of live music featuring bands I will actively strive to see again in the future.