British rock band Foals has a reputation for getting rowdy. This is after all, a band that once got into a fistfight with Sex Pistols’ John Lydon. The band is known for bringing an intense energy to the stage and even after a decade, they haven’t slowed down. We talk to percussionist — and one time Burberry model — Jack Bevan, 30, about the band’s latest album, “What Went Down,” and turning anger into art.
From 20 to 175,000
Foals have played massive festivals such as Glastonbury and Coachella, but Bevan still remembers their very first Oxford gig where they played to only 20 people: “It was the hottest summer we had in the U.K. for years and it was in this [pub] with no air-conditioning. It was absolutely boiling,” he says.
“But it was great. Our music was quite dance-y in the early stages and the crowd was just dancing and moshing. We had never played live before and we were just so excited.”
The days of playing to 20 people are long over and currently the band is touring the States promoting their latest album, “What Went Down.” The five-some recorded it in the south of France, the same seaside town Vincent Van Gogh was once committed to a mental institution.
And while the album certainly has a manic feel to it, Bevan says the Van Gogh connection is more a coincidence than anything else. “We didn’t chose the city because of that, but we were definitely aware of it,” he says. “It’s like a haunted house. They’re always more exciting when you know something actually happened in the house.”
As with Foals’ past albums, “What Went Down” is bluntly aggressive and loud. “It’s so raw and intense to play,” Bevan says. “By the time we’re finished, it feels like just getting a massage or something. It’s very therapeutic.”
Because their music errs on the serious side, Bevan says at times he worries that people forget that there’s another side to them that’s a lot more laidback. “It’s quite hard when you’re making something that you feel deeply serious and earnest about, which we are very much doing, but that doesn’t mean we’re not real people and have a sense of humor,” he says. “We’re just not really a band to make funny music videos.”
If you go:
New York City
Dec. 18, 7 p.m.
610 W. 56th St., 212-582-6600
Dec. 19, 7 p.m.
1026 Spring Garden St., 215-232-2100
Follow Emily on Twitter: @EmLaurence