Concert Review: Foster The People, April 3rd, Lee’s Palace

Toronto – Three songs. That’s all it takes to sell out a venue like Lee’s Palace these days. By selling out one of the most prestigious venues in Toronto on a strength of an EP, California’s Foster The People have definitely set a template that any up and coming bands would want to follow. The template of course, is easier said and done as I cannot remember a band whose first release was as good as Foster the People’s was. Anticipation at Lee’s was high, as the extremely sold out crowd waited anxiously for the band to arrive. Much like the Miami Horror show on Friday, I was not quite sure where all these people are coming from. I must be missing the boat somewhere.

A multitude of high pitch shrieks greeted the on stage arrival of Foster the People, perhaps shedding light as to the bands sudden rise from obscurity. Mark Foster, the baby faced shaggy hair leader, was a certified chick magnet, enticing the larger then usual female capacity to shower him with love with every glancing smile. Pulling a drum set towards the center of the stage, he started off the set with an unknown song, certainly off their new album Torches. I’ll be honest, every time I see a lead singer pull a drum kit and then proceed to bash on it, I am reminded of last year’s darlings, The Temper Trap. Much like their 2010 Australian counterparts, Foster The People’s strength lies in their singers voice. Mark Foster’s voice is a bit high pitch but it’s got a coolness to it, reminding me of Adam Levine. Combine that with the bands penchant for following a soft synth rock formula and I came away with the impression that this band is going to become the next Maroon 5. The irony of this is that I’ve only really heard a few Maroon 5 songs, but Foster The People’s what I assume Maroon 5 sound like on a good day. I could be completely wrong.

Obviously, with the rest of the songs unreleased, the show did not take hold until one of the familiar tracks got played. Once drummer Mark Pontius started with the opening beats of Houdini, the super excitable crowd started revving up, there was more screaming and it was game on. Switching between a few keyboards and singing on the microphone, Mark Foster did an admirable job as lead, although I suspect in time he will have a few more dance moves besides shrugging his shoulders up and down while singing. With only three known songs in their arsenal, the band did a good job spacing them out with their unreleased tracks. The new music I heard was very similar in vein with the released ones – light, poppy, radio friendly with a knack for catchy synth lines and singable choruses (once the crowd knows about the tracks). There wasn’t anything that was dramatically different, but I guess when you can acquire such a large fan base so quickly, why break up a good thing?

As one would expect, the ridiculously catchy single Pumped Up Kicks highlighted the show and even produced a crowd sing-a-long. For my money, this crowd was much better then the crowd from SXSW, who while enthusiastic, certainly did not have a sing-a-long with the band. A rapturous ovation later, the band returned and finished off a satisfying set with Helena Beat, allowing the sold out crowd leave happy.

With their debut album Torches out on May 24th, Foster the People will be back at the larger Mod Club on June 18th. Is it a NXNE showcase? I don’t know. What I do know is that if this band continues to put out tracks solid as the ones they’ve released, that show will be sold out. Get your tickets early.

Foster The People – Helena Beat by The Clink

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts

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Britpop lovin Chinaman, consumer of all things irrelevant. Toronto Raptors fan.