Just last week, I was excited to kick off my July with a surprise after-show featuring Foster The People and a handful of local bands at Chicago’s East Room – a small bar in the Logan Square neighborhood. Foster The People is currently on tour with Paramore and announced select intimate after-shows in cities like Brooklyn and Los Angeles for a reimagined take on their 2017 release, Sacred Hearts Club.
Despite the album receiving mixed reviews, it essentially catapulted the band back into the limelight after a three year break between second and third albums. The band’s current single, “Sit Next To me,” has been a hot track this summer, with 34 million plays on YouTube and over 64 million Spotify streams. The sudden popularity of the single comes as a shock to the band – considering the fact that the song came from an album released over a year ago.
I knew I was in for a treat when approached with the opportunity to check out FTP at East Room. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s a tiny, tiny bar and I was first puzzled when thinking about where the band would even perform – then remembered that there is in fact a very small stage in the corner of the bar that faces a dance floor, paired with a projector screen on one wall and a disco ball that hangs on the ceiling. All in all, it was a perfect venue for the band to revisit their SHC album and play some covers, which is essentially what the show ended up revolving around (no disco ball pun intended).
I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t familiar with all of the songs that the band sang – after all, I was not alive in the 80s and am much more familiar with songs from the 90s and 2000s (#MillennialProbs) but it was really cool to hear the band play songs that inspired their album writing process for Sacred Hearts Club. Like the band said in the tweet, the performance of the songs that they DID sing (“Lotus Flower” and “Don’t Stop”) were meant to be performed as they were during the beginning stages of writing.
Obviously, Foster The People has a lot of indie pop in their music, so a new take on the recorded versions of these songs were evident based on how they chose to perform them here and relate them to the sounds of the 80s. Their cover of The Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop” sounded like it could have been their own song – and I’m sure there were a few people in the audience who thought it was their song.
Below is video footage of the band performing “Lotus Flower” and “Blitzkrieg Bop” at Lollapalooza 2017 – ironically enough because I was also at that set.
As a pretty invested FTP fan (I’ve seen them live four times now), I would have hoped to hear more of their own music at this set, but it was still a cool experience and they definitely pulled off their goal of transporting fans back to the 1980s (minus the ridiculous amount of smartphones filming the 45-minute set). I would have LOVED to hear “Sit Next To Me” and “Loyal Like Sid & Nancy,” but I’ve heard both live multiple times, so I really can’t be that all upset about it anyway.
Foster The People continues their tour with Paramore through July and have festival performances scheduled in Virginia, Atlanta and Vegas.
July 21 – Pitchfork
July 24 – Sylvan Esso
August 2-5 – Lollapalooza