Foals, Bear Hands, and Kiev stopped by the Fox Theater in Oakland on September 26.
Kiev opened up the show. This was my first time encountering Kiev’s music, but it drew my attention right away and kept it. I feel like a lot of opening bands feel pressured to kick the night off in a forcefully and superficially energetic way. Kiev, however, decided to start things relaxed and experimental, and they did it well. I could quickly tell that these guys were creative minds and solid musicians. With ambient vocals, hypnotizing layers of instrumentals and a little sax peppered every now and then, Kiev’s set engaged me the way an intellectually stimulating conversation would.
Up next was Bear Hands. Even though I had just seen them a couple months back, they were still the ones I was most excited for. They played some of my personal favorites, such as “Bone Digger” and “Crime Pays,” the latter of which was dedicated to a specific presidential candidate in light of the first debate. I could have called it a night after Bear Hands and would have been perfectly content, because everything about their set was on point. I love the way the instrumentals surround and, therefore, emphasize frontman Dylan Rau’s vocals, which consistently project a punk attitude . There’s also something about their angst-packed lyrics juxtaposed with upbeat melodies that never fails to make me head over heels.
A point I feel I have to make about Bear Hands’s and Kiev’s sets is that both deserved a better crowd. I remember being disappointed and embarrassed by how unreceptive the crowd appeared. Granted, not all parts of the audience were bad, but it definitely irked me to know that Oakland could have shown more appreciation and enthusiasm, yet didn’t.
The crowd resurrected just in time for Foals. My only impression of the band beforehand was “Spanish Sahara,” so I honestly expected the rest of the night to consist of sad indie folk… I was wrong. Foals was full of energy demanding to be felt. I love revisiting the song “What Went Down” now, because all I see are flashbacks of what went down then: Yannis all over the place –on the walls, in the pit, tangled in the crowd— with fans and security guards following. I must have dodged more hits in the photo pit than I ever did for grade school dodgeball.
I left the venue a definite fan of all three bands, even though Kiev and Foals were totally new to me. I kind of wish I could relive the show, but this time from the stage floor, sans photo gear, so I could fully immerse myself in the energy.
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Words and photos by Rianna Chloe Catajan.