SXSW Live Review: Foster The People – Butler Park, Austin (14.03.14)

While badgeholders jump from intimate venue to intimate venue, the general public are given their share of SXSW experiences, too, from outdoor events like the Fader Fort, to badge-free events across the city. But nothing comes bigger than the free outdoor stage – which has moved to Butler Park as Auditorium Shores next door undergoes renovations. With massive artists like Snoop Dogg, Childish Gambino, Slash and more on the festival stage, tens of thousands come out to soak in the atmosphere of a more traditional festival atmosphere.

But for the second night of the event, it was Foster The People who had headlining duties, as they celebrated the release of their new album Supermodel. But as it has yet to be released, their much lauded debut record Torches remained the night’s focus, opening with “Life on the Nickel” and going on to play 7 more, which got everyone moving, especially “Pumped Up Kicks” and “Helena Beat”.

The new tracks were sounding solid, though it does make the difference when you know the material, meaning there was a little less movement. But tracks like “Pseudologia Fantastica” and single “Coming of Age” were well received all the same.

Rounding out the Supermodel setlist were tracks “Nevermind”, “A Beginner’s Guide to Destroying the Moon” and “Ask Yourself”. Though, surprisingly, the band didn’t stop there with the new material. Two tracks, “the Truth” and “Best Friend” were played for the first time at the event. We wonder if this means they’re already working on more material, or if these are some extra B-sides that we’ll be seeing later down the track…

Having seen this band at venues big and small, it’s fair to say their sound translates well in either situation, albeit in different ways. The hit songs create an impressive party atmosphere amongst tens of thousands of people singing along. But as you lose the intimacy, you also lose some of the focus that made this band so great to begin with: they’re all really great musicians. As much as you try to show that off, the bigger the venue, the harder it is to appreciate it. But as you sing and dance along to the songs you know, none of that really matters in the end, does it?

Supermodel is released this week and the setlist of the show is below!

Life on the Nickel
Miss You
A Beginner’s Guide to Destroying the Moon
Call It What You Want
Pseudologia Fantastica
Best Friend
Coming of Age
Ask Yourself
Pumped Up Kicks
The Truth
Helena Beat

Don’t Stop (Color on the Walls)

Larry Heath

Founding Editor and Publisher of the AU review. Currently based in Toronto, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter @larry_heath or on Instagram @larryheath.