Foster the People Open First U.S. Tour at SoHo

Singer Mark Foster, bassist Cubbie Funk, and drummer Mark Pontius comprise the core of Foster the People.

With over a million hits on YouTube and a single in the Top 15 of alternative radio, Foster the People have created quite a buzz with their laidback dance friendly jams. The Los Angeles based band kicked off their first U.S. tour in downtown Santa Barbara at Soho and legitimized all the hype with an electric show to a sold out crowd.Before they took the stage, We Barbarians opened and woke up the crowd with a full and vibrant sound that is more aggressive than other bands in the indie rock genre. The Long Beach natives performed a mix of songs from their debut LP “Yesmen & Bumsuckers” as well as a few tracks from their upcoming EP. After the trio finished, the scattered groups of girls and hipsters grabbed a last drink and filled out the space in preparation for the main act.

Although Foster the People have only released a three song EP, the venue was packed with teenagers looking to witness the next big thing. After Ohio native front man Mark Foster gave an introduction, the 5-piece band immediately got the crowd grooving with hard-hitting bass lines and electro synths.

Just when the fist-pumping crowd began to really enjoy the performance, Foster the People busted out their addictive feel-good single “Pumped Up Kicks” that has brought the band such critical acclaim. With chill guitars, pleasant whistling, and a ridiculously catchy hook, “Pumped Up Kicks” is simply infectious. The track translated well live and completely rocked the sold out venue.

Performing the hit song with gratified smiles to a raucous crowd chanting every lyric, Foster the People showed their youth as a band for the first time all night. Musically, the band was flawless throughout, but one couldn’t help but notice the band’s surprise and amazement upon seeing their newfound fan base.

Foster the People performed a very diverse set in which no song sounded similar. Conventional guitars, drums, and piano keys clashed with tambourines and synthesizers, as the crowd danced throughout the show. The broad range of songs included slow jams as well.

Because Foster the People have only a couple of songs available for listeners, I did not know what to expect for a live performance. However, the talent of the musicians was impressive, and their uniquely fresh sound has many fans, including myself, excited for the band’s future.

For an encore, Foster the People performed “Helena Beat,” a track off their EP. Foster’s smooth voice over crunchy guitars and electronic dance synths served as an announcement that the line between organic and electronic music has officially been eliminated. Critics have dubbed Foster the People as the next MGMT, but I feel the band is more similar to Phoenix with electro pop undertones.

The release of Foster the People’s full-length debut album titled “Torches” on Columbia Records is set for May 24th. The band concludes their current U.S. tour with performances at Coachella and Sasquatch music festivals.

Check out some live footage Sour Grape got from the Foster the People show at Soho:

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