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Review: Foals at Dreamland, Margate

By Chris Price

If it was a venue in Brixton or Shoreditch, the roller disco hall at Dreamland would be considered among the top touring spots in the UK.   

Its arched art deco ceiling is marked with holes and much of the building’s brickwork is exposed, adding that decadent ambience of many of the country’s great locations.

All that is needed, then, is a band able to make the most of a brooding crowd and Foals could not have been a better choice for the opening gambit of Kent’s newest sweat box.

Foals frontman Yannis Philippakis enjoyed three crowdsurfing jaunts. Picture Nick Chipperfield

Foals frontman Yannis Philippakis enjoyed three crowdsurfing jaunts. Picture: Nick Chipperfield

Not since Blur played their triumphant comeback in Margate Winter Gardens in 2012 has there been this much hype about a gig in this part of the county.

The difference with Foals is for the first time in many years, the town has hosted a band clearly reaching the peak of their powers.

Now on album four, What Went Down, the band is reaching new audiences, highlighted by a broad mix of people at the show, rather than a room packed with young try hards.

They say great music unifies all kinds of people and it was some new material which gave the Foals congregation their cue (if they needed it) to start the evening’s perennial mosh pit during opening track Mountain At My Gates.

Foals frontman Yannis Philippakis had the crowd eating out the palm of his hand. Picture Nick Chipperfield

Foals frontman Yannis Philippakis had the crowd eating out the palm of his hand. Picture: Nick Chipperfield

Young, old, men, women, tall and small all piled into each other as the band slammed the room with an unforgiving set list.

"This is for everyone who won something at the roulette shop" joked frontman Yannis Philippakis with a nod to the unusual setting, which reopened this year after lying dormant for a decade.

It wasn't long before he launched into one of three crowdsurfing bouts, carried with messiah-like care considering the chaos unfolding among his ecstatic disciples.

One of the real skills of the band is to extend songs into frenzy-inducing guitar epics.

"Stop being too cool to be ready," implored Philippakis during a punishing round of Blue Blood, Red Socks Pugie and My Number.

The gig was played at Dreamland

The gig was played at Dreamland. Picture: Nick Chipperfield

Foals performed as part of the By The Sea mini-festival at Dreamland

Foals performed as part of the By The Sea mini-festival at Dreamland. Picture: Nick Chipperfield

Then just as it looked like the crowd couldn’t take any more, they stripped it right back with something serene, most beautifully with Spanish Sahara.

"This is a great thing for Margate and something you folks should be proud of" said frontman Philippakis as the band began its encore, finished off by a saga-like version of Two Steps Twice.

As they walked out of the rejuvenated amusement park after Kent’s gig of the year, as part of a successful By The Sea mini-festival, most people would have agreed with him.

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