Foster the People and Soko - Fillmore Miami Beach

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

Foster the People

With Soko

Fillmore Miami Beach

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Better Than: A no-hit wonder.

"Pumped Up Kicks" is such a good fucking song.

It's cool and catchy and inspires people to use their Shazam app when they hear it on a TV show or at a bar. Modern technology will tell you it is a song by Foster the People, an L.A. band that made its Miami debut at the Fillmore Miami Beach last night.

And if you knew this group only by that one impossibly great hit, you could not help but be disappointed by the 13-song set.

See also: Soko - Musician, Actress, Fervent French Woman - in Love with "Telling Stories"

That is not to say that a majority of the sold-out crowd did not love every minute of Foster the People's show.

The fans jumped up and down, chanting out "Foster! Foster! Foster!" and singing along to every word. But there was at least one grouchy critic in the back of the pit who was disappointed.

Yes, from their musicianship to their respect for the audience to the pleasing aesthetics of their lighting display, right down to singer Mark Foster's impressive dance moves, the men of Foster the People defined professionalism. But who wants mere competence from rock 'n' roll?

Maybe I was spoiled by the sloppy postpunk of opener Soko.

Flanked by two guitars, a bass, and a drummer, she invited audience members to come on the stage and "dance like aliens on acid." She burped into the mic, with her only excuse being that she is "French and that is what we do" and then not making any excuses at all after flashing her breasts for a brief moment.

None of her songs was particularly memorable, but her enthusiasm and anarchic spirit was contagious -- even if for the first couple of songs, her Siouxsie Sioux-inspired vocals couldn't be heard over the music.

See also: Ten Best Female Punks Ever

After Soko's joie de vivre, the overpolished sheen of Foster the People couldn't help but feel like a repeat episode of American Idol. Simon or Paula Abdul or JLo or whoever's working as the judges these days would give the band high marks.

The singer hit his falsetto notes, did his darnedest to connect with the audience, and even looked fashionable coming out in a leather jacket, only to take it off four songs into the show. But there was such a blandness to the delivery that it made me want to pore over Foster the People's lyrics and see if it's a Christian rock band. (It's not.)

But just as I was ready to give up on them, out came "Pumped Up Kicks."

There were some subtle changes. Maracas and horn samples were thrown into the mix. Foster toned down his overemotive singing style and let the song come to him in all its laid-back glory.

Instead of prancing around like a pint-sized Bono, he had the cool of a Lou Reed that didn't seem so desperate to please. The confidence even carried over into the last song of the main set, "Don't Stop."

Maybe it is ridiculous to expect a band to craft perfection more than once. But hell, "Pumped Up Kicks" is so great that I'll take a hundred blah songs in exchange.

Critic's Notebook

Foster the People's Setlist:


-"Miss You"

-"Life on the Nickel"

-"Helena Beat"


-"Coming of Age"


-"Best Friend"

-"Are You What You Want to Be"

-"Call It What You Want"

-"Pumped Up Kicks"

-"Don't Stop"



Crossfade's Top Blogs

-Five Signs You Might Be a Shitty Guitarist

-Music's Five Dumbest Marketing Trends

-22 Richest Pop Stars of 2014

Follow Crossfade on Facebook and Twitter @Crossfade_SFL.

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.