What a great show at the Bottleneck. The place was packed and hot as hell! Foster the People has been well-known for their song, “Pumped Up Kicks” for more than a few months now, but I fell in love with them with their live performance in Austin for SXSW this year. Sure, “Pumped Up Kicks” is a kitschy, ironic fun song, but it didn’t have that special something to make me hit replay ten times in a row. The rest of their songs, however, are another story. As for The Chain Gang of 1974, well they were a surprise accident discovered in Austin at the same time. They put on one hell of a show at The Fader Fort in Austin and grabbed my attention. I felt lucky to get the chance to see the two bands again in my neck of the woods.
The Chain Gang of 1974 is a mouthful when it comes to band names, but the band really only consist of one member, Kamtin Mohager. Walking into one of their sets is like stepping back in time. The synth-heavy post-punk band brings every element of the bands of days gone by, but with a twist that keeps it fresh and new somehow. Is it ironic, or is it passionate? Now a days, with all the ironic hipsters, you have to wonder if anything is real or loved anymore. Rest assured, Kamtin loves what he does and works really hard to bring it you as a fan. The show at The Bottleneck blew me away. The performance by Kamtin and crew was fun, uplifting and got everyone jumping. Kamtin even took the time to jump off the stage and put on a show on the floor around all the ladies who grinned from ear to ear.
From just listening to the music you might think that this would be a rather bummed out show and leave everyone searching for a pick me up afterward, but it’s almost the exact opposite of that. The entire band and much of the crowd was covered in sweat after their set. The Chain Gang of 1974 has a new album available June 21st called Wayward Fire, go grab it now.
Foster the People came out to a packed house full of beautiful people. All the girls were in their best sundresses in hopes of catching the eye of Mark Foster. Mark came out wearing a shirt from The Chain Gang, which had to have boosted sales. They started with “Warrant” and the crowd was right there with him, singing along. In fact, not many of the songs went unsung by the crowd. He quickly blew through “Pumped up Kicks” to save room for more of the album, Torches, available now. One of my favorite songs on the album is “Missing You” which has some very melodic parts, but the drums kick in and you just want to beat on everything around you. The band plays this song on stage with as much enthusiasm as it probably took to write the song. It’s obvious that they love the songs they play each night and that makes for a much more enjoyable show.
As the show went on, the crowd got became excited in anticipation of each song and the room’s temperature went up and up. The Bottleneck’s one ceiling fan with six inch blades was doing an awesome job of not cooling anyone off. People were taking breaks outside in the summer heat to get a breath of fresh air. But all the sweat was worth it because there was a connection between the band and the crowd that night.
The connection that night was not just the crowd as a whole connecting to the band, but rather individuals within the crowd getting along and having a great time together. I can always sense the mood of the crowd by how difficult it is to move through it. This night was a breeze. Sure, I was dripping sweat down my legs by the end of it and came out of there with long hairs attached to me that were not mine, but everyone had a breezy attitude and a smile on their faces. The five members of the band may have been sweating just as much, being crowded on a small stage, but they too were taking time to laugh and interact with the crowd.
The indie-pop band gives people a reason to dance and with Mark’s very high-pitched falsetto vocals, the ladies can easily sing along. In fact, the song “Don’t Stop” starts with Mark singing in a “normal man’s octaves” and it is so shocking compared to the rest of the set that I found myself looking at my friend and she and I were both wondering who had just come on stage to sing. Well, I guess he’s just proving that he can sing like a guy if he wants to. It was a fantastic show overall and both bands are definitely on my “See Again” list. I suggest you make a date with these guys and wear your lightest summer dress, because it’s going to get hot.
Foster the People’s setlist:
Call It What You Want
Life on the Nickel
I Would Do Anything
Pumped Up Kicks
Photos and Story by Angela Davis