|Mark Foster of ' Foster The People' performing in Toronto tonight, June 19, 2012 at Downsview Park. (Stan Behal/QMI Agency)
TORONTO - Los Angeles synth-pop group Foster The People had one of the biggest 2011 singles with Pumped Up Kicks and had perhaps a bigger than expected turnout for their Toronto show Tuesday night.
But above all, kudos to lead singer Mark Foster for seeing the big picture.
About a third into their roughly 75-minute show, Foster acknowledged the tragedy that took place Saturday afternoon a few hundred yards away from their meadow location at Downsview Park.
“I feel weird not talking about it, about this loss,” Foster said before commenting on the death of Radiohead drum tech Scott Johnson from a stage collapse.
“We're all extended family," he added, sending his and the band's condolences to Radiohead, the families and others injured.
Foster said the band and fans were going to “celebrate life tonight”.
And despite the collapsed stage plainly visible on the path to Tuesday's concert, the group and audience celebrated a lot thanks to some catchy melodies -- equally piano-based as they were percussion-propelled.
With a small video screen inside of a sun (and occasionally showing close ups of Foster), the group came out to the beat of their own drums with Miss You and Life On The Nickel, the latter with Foster dancing around as if the near 40 degree temperatures (with the humidex) had no effect on him.
What has had an effect is the infectious quality to the songs that often scream for airplay on radio stations, leaving some who didn't know all but a few signatures off their debut album Torches saying, “Oh, they sing that one too?”
The first big highlight was the dance-demanding Helena Beat as a character with cardboard flames and a black mask emerged from a video screen panel, aiming a flashlight at the group. Yet even Broken Jaw, a bonus track on some album editions, dazzled with its weird quasi-reggae-meets-synth pop recipe.
As if the parent to a sea of devoted Foster children, the lead singer also prefaced the smoother Love by saying Diddy passed on the song so he finished the song himself.
“He probably would've made it lame,” Foster quipped.
With just one album, many knew it wouldn't be a marathon show. Regardless, Foster The People seized the moment with a cavity-inducing Don't Stop (Color On The Walls) that had most dancing while Warrior had opener and buzz act Kimbra making a guest appearance.
Thankfully, the band closed their main set with Houdini but not showing the song's video. In an incredibly eerie coincidence, the video (created months ago) opens with the group being killed when the stage rigging falls down on top of them.
Leaving their best to last, and leaving nobody biting their nails as to what song they'd close with, Foster The People had all onside with Pumped Up Kicks before calling it a night.
An enjoyable night despite the thoughts of Saturday still fresh in many minds.
Life On The Nickel
I Would Do Anything For You
Call It What You Want
Don't Stop (Color On The Walls)
Pumped Up Kicks