“Sometimes it can be quite a shock when he decides to dive in,” says Foals bassist Walter Gervers of lead singer Yannis Philippakis.
It's right before the band performs on the main stage at Panorama Festival in New York in mid-July. “He gets covered in bruises sometimes,” Gervers continues. “He did his shin in quite badly on a barrier once, but no broken bones. He messed his foot up a couple of times, just bits and pieces. I think he might have broken a girl's arm once, but that could have been the crowd rather than just him.”
The Oxford, England quintet has quite the live reputation, which more often than not includes Philippakis stage-diving off of balconies. At Coachella in 2011, he leapt off 10-foot-high speakers and — there's video proof — landed right in front of me. Fortunately, the crowd caught him, but my handheld camera didn't fare as well — I lost it in the ensuing moshpit.
“In the past, he would get dropped a lot more,” Gervers says. “There wouldn't be a crowd there for a start.”
Fast-forward to 2016 and Foals, which formed in 2005, now attracts massive crowds that are more than willing to catch Philippakis' 5-foot-7 frame. They've already headlined U.K. festivals like Reading and Leeds, and now they're finally getting the attention they deserve in the U.S. This year, they've already performed at Coachella and Glastonbury — where they were second to last on at the Pyramid Stage — and they'll be playing at Outside Lands on Friday, too.
Unfortunately, this could be your last chance to see Foals for a while. For the first time in the band's career, there's a finish line in sight: early December. Over the course of the last eight years, the indie rock band has put out four records, but its members never took the time to relax between releases.
“I think we're starting to wear ourselves out a bit,” Bevan says, adding that the band only plans to take about a six-month break. “When we were younger, all of our friends were at university and fucking around. Ten years on, a lot of our friends have families and are married and we haven't had time to stop and do grown-up stuff. It'll be quite nice to have a slightly normal life for a little while before we go back into it again.”
Catch Foals live, though, and you'd never guess that they're starting to feel the exhaustion of playing close to 150 shows in the past 12 months. Philippakis is as animated as ever, screaming and twirling in circles on almost each song, while Bevan stands on his drum kit urging the crowd to go mental.
But for such a hardworking band, this break is wholly deserved. “We love touring,” Bevan says. “When you start a touring cycle, the tank is all the way full, but it does feel like the petrol light has switched itself on and we need a break. The older we get, the hangovers are more brutal. It's not like it used to be when you'd bounce up the next day. When you hit 30 is when it gets really bad.”