Review: Foster the People at the Bottleneck

The drive across western Kansas may have put their tour bus out of commission upon arriving in Lawrence but that wouldn’t stop Foster The People from bringing their high-energy, synthesized act to town.


The L.A. band played to a sold-out crowd at The Bottleneck on Friday night. The venue’s thermostat had to have read 90 degrees when I walked in before the set began. Mark Foster and his People helped foster the heat* up to 100. I am fairly certain that each person who attended lost ten pounds by the end of the show from sweating so much. The band has a catchy sound that listeners can’t help but move to.

They opened with “Warrant” and blazed through an about 45 minute set, only easing off the gas to say a few words to the crowd. Numerous times throughout the show, the band plays their instruments furiously, as if it is the last time they will ever play them, yet still keep in line with their tightly knit infectious beats. They seem to feed off of each other and, in turn, their fans feed off of them. The member of the band who truly captures its essence is the maraca/tambourine/drum/keyboard playing musician (whom I believe to be Isom Innis based on this description which matches what I saw). He takes the group’s already high energy level up another notch with his frantic, multi-instrument playing stage presence.

Even though their debut album, Torches, was only released last month, most of the audience knew all of the songs but eagerly anticipated hearing “Pumped Up Kicks” live. The song was released a year ago but is just now reaching its peak. The crowd roared in approval when the set was closed with what many have called the “song of the summer”. Despite the dark lyrics of the song, its breezy sounds made The Bottleneck feel 20 degrees cooler for a few minutes. It was a more than welcome feeling.

The encore consisted of “Helena Beat”, my favorite track on Torches, and “Don’t Stop”, which is maybe my least favorite.

Foster the People generates a lot of energy on stage to accompany the many layers of their music. The concert was well worth the hot temperatures. I think most of the crowd that night would do it over again regardless the heat.

*I could go crazy with the “Foster-isms” but I’ll only do the one.

I Heart Local Music grabbed some good video, check them out!

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