SoundLand continued its Nashville takeover last night, with more than twenty bands descending upon Music City to play songs about girls, booze, and pumped-up kicks.
Foster the People headlined the evening’s block party on 12th Avenue, packing a rowdy crowd into a parking lot lined by food trucks and chain link fencing. Toward the back of the audience, Kings of Leon’s Jared Followill nodded his head approvingly and dodged questions about the future of his band. Onstage, Foster the People steadily inched their way closer to the song everyone came to hear, playing a mix of SFX-laden electro-pop and MGMT-approved rock with help from two touring keyboardists.
Before they dished out “Pumped Up Kicks,” the guys kicked off their encore by force-feeding the audience “Ruby,” a slow-burning piano ballad that might’ve gone over well in a listening room but seemed to lose steam as soon as it hit the nighttime air. “Pumped Up Kicks” arrived next, though, proving that a good chorus – even one about gunning down a group of kids — can erase an entire show’s worth of questionable choices.
And man, they milked that hook for every last drop, nearly doubling the song’s length in the process. They played the chorus straight. They played it in half time. They sang it a cappella. They shoved a mic toward the audience and led us through a crowd singalong. Then, just when every option appeared to be exhausted, they piped in some keyboard loops and danced their way through a techno remix of the chorus, just for good measure. Then they played it straight AGAIN. If you thought “Pumped Up Kicks” had worn out its welcome on radioplay alone, you were in for a pumped-up surprise.