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Foster the People @ Masquerade (9/21/11)

WMRE

October 17th, 2011

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Foster the People, Cults, and Reptar played a show at Masquerade’s outdoor music park that was as visually stunning as it was audibly enjoyable. When Reptar took the stage with “Rainbounce” off their Oblangle Fizz Y’all EP, the crowd didn’t know what to make of their upbeat yet unusual sound. The audience seemed more interested in gazing at the sunset and the Atlanta skyline behind the stage than in dancing. Fortunately, these local favorites brought a small but devoted following. (As proof of what strong connections Reptar maintains with its Atlanta-Athens roots, one fan repeatedly screamed “Graham, I went to prom with your brother!” Though Graham did not respond, this was quite possibly the greatest thing I have ever heard a fan scream at a concert.) Most of Reptar’s fans started the night dancing in the corner of the crowd, but they brought the party to center stage when they danced their way to the center of the crowd during the second-to-last song. With their new positioning, they got the whole crowd dancing to a splendid rendition of set closer “Blastoff.”

Though much of the audience seemed baffled by Reptar’s eclectic tunes, Cults’ mellow sound was more to their liking. Madeline Follin’s winsome croon put most of the audience under her spell, but this reviewer was underwhelmed. Aside from a few stand-out songs, such as “Abducted,” Follin and her long-haired band gave a pleasant yet lackluster performance.

Despite the quick set change between Reptar and Cults, Foster the People took their sweet time getting on stage. After about an hour, the crowd started to get restless and speculate that Mark Foster and friends must have let their quick rise to success get to their heads (though most phrased these concerns in more concise chants). When Foster the People finally took the stage, they proved to be well worth the wait. As if their flawless vocal and instrumental performances of all the songs on their album Torches weren’t enough, they transitioned between songs with sweeping, synth-heavy interludes. Though Foster rarely addressed the crowd, his shuffling dance steps gave him a strong stage presence. In case Foster’s moves weren’t enough to look at, the band had an overwhelming lighting setup involving sweeping searchlights, stunning backlights, and seizure-inducing strobe lights. The frenetic lighting was perfectly suited to Foster the People’s upbeat alt-dance songs. Foster’s smooth voice and peppy tunes recalled an indie Maroon 5, though the lighting and atmosphere were far better than any Maroon 5 concert this reviewer has attended. Though Reptar struggled to connect with such a large crowd and Cults’ set was solid yet unmemorable, Foster the People delivered one of the most fun, high-energy performances this reviewer has ever seen.

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