Foals: the road to Alexandra Palace

As the Oxford indie heroes prepare to play the biggest shows of their career, frontman Yannis Philippakis looks back at the London venues they rocked along the way

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  • 1. The Windmill, 2004

    ‘This was with my old band, The Edmund Fitzgerald [also featuring Foals drummer Jack Bevan]. We didn’t have anyone to drive us, so we got the Oxford Tube coach with all of our gear, our amps and most of a drum kit. When we got to London, we got a shopping trolley and missioned it all the way down Brixton Road – and then we had to do the same thing on the way back. I think there might have been a baker’s dozen in the crowd. It was an absolute joke. But it was fun!’

     

    © Chris Ide

  • 2. Squallyoaks, 2007

    ‘Foals started playing house parties around the time of our first London gigs, and one was at a notorious squat called Squallyoaks near Elephant & Castle…’

     

    © Maria Elisa Gomez

  • 2. Squallyoaks, 2007

    ‘By the end of the set the wall of the room that we were playing in had been broken down with a fire extinguisher. 
The only source of light was one single lightbulb – there were no windows or anything – and that broke one song into the set…’

     

    © Maria Elisa Gomez

  • 2. Squallyoaks, 2007

    ‘It was carnage. I remember walking through human detritus at the end of the night: people just catatonic in corners and rubble everywhere.’

     

    © Maria Elisa Gomez

  • 3. The Astoria, 2008

    ‘I’d grown up going to gigs at the Astoria, so when we played there it was definitely a rush. I called my mum and said, “Hey, we’re playing at the Astoria,” and it meant something: even she’d heard of it…’

     

    © Daniel Harris

  • 3. The Astoria, 2008

    ‘I remember a palpable excitement at the fact that there were 2,000 people actually willing to pay to see us play.’

     

    © Daniel Harris

  • 4. The Garage, 2013

    ‘I used to go to the Silver Rocket nights at The Garage pretty religiously to see post-hardcore bands like Cove, and to try and crowbar Foals on to the bills. I spent New Year’s Eve there, actually, watching [UK punk-funkers] Charlottefield when I was 18. 
I have such fond memories of that place that we decided to film the 
“My Number” video there. 
We just wanted to go back somewhere we knew.’
     
    Watch the ‘My Number’ video:

  • 5. Alexandra Palace, 2014

    ‘I’m excited. I think it’s going to be a great night. It’s the biggest venue we’ve headlined. We actually supported Bloc Party there in 2007, and I remember thinking how vast it was – I was really nervous back then. It’s going to be interesting seeing how I feel now in the space. Getting to do two nights is great, and it’s Valentine’s Day on Friday 
as well, so I think there’s going to be 
a lot of love in the room.’

1. The Windmill, 2004

‘This was with my old band, The Edmund Fitzgerald [also featuring Foals drummer Jack Bevan]. We didn’t have anyone to drive us, so we got the Oxford Tube coach with all of our gear, our amps and most of a drum kit. When we got to London, we got a shopping trolley and missioned it all the way down Brixton Road – and then we had to do the same thing on the way back. I think there might have been a baker’s dozen in the crowd. It was an absolute joke. But it was fun!’

 

© Chris Ide


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