By Sharon Chen
Los Angeles indie rockers Foster the People brought their infectious hooks to Fort Canning Park last night with an earnestly enthusiastic performance that could only come from a band truly amazed at their meteoric rise to success.
It's been a whirlwind ride for the group ever since their smash hit "Pumped Up Kicks" hit the airwaves last year. The song was everywhere — TV shows, movies, commercials, club remixes, Youtube covers… there was (and still is) no escaping it. Last month, it was nominated for a Grammy for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.
The upbeat tune is emblematic of Foster the People's unique brand of music, which Mark Foster has called "intelligent pop" that "hipsters are going to want to dance to." He wrote the band's debut album Torches and favors lighthearted, catchy beats that make it easy to overlook the often deep, sometimes dark, subject matter of his songs. "Pumped Up Kicks" explores the issue of school violence through the homicidal thoughts of a young man who finds his father's gun.Mark Pontius drumming it up at the concert (Yahoo! photos/Clarence Chen)
"It's definitely pop, I think we're all aware of that. [But] it's a little left of center - it's not totally candy pop, we try to keep it very dirty and a little bit quirky," Mark Pontius told Yahoo! Singapore before the show.
Doors opened at 7pm to long lines of excited fans who were entertained by local opening act The Auditory Effect before the band came on at 9pm.
The crowd's palpable anticipation erupted into hysterical cheers as the opening chords to "Houdini" filled the air. "Miss You" and "Life as a Nickel" followed, as did Foster's signature dance moves. His awkward shoulder shrugging and nervous shuffling have become his trademark, endearing him to fans everywhere as they convey the genuine excitement that seems to overtake him every time he performs.
Taking a short break, Foster reflected on the band's journey to success, encouraging the audience to pursue their passions as relentlessly as they did.
"When we started the band, we were just three friends in LA… I don't think any of us ever would have thought we would be halfway around the world," he shared.
"But we were passionate about what we wanted to do and we didn't hold back. And I know all of you guys out there have something that you want to do, that you're passionate about."
"It's really easy to get deflated following your passion. A lot of people like to say no, a lot of people say you're not good enough … you have to prove them wrong. You have to believe in yourself and not let fear get in the way of your dream. That the most important thing."
The intimate moment continued with "Broken Jaw," a bonus track from Torches and "Waste," a song about the shame of wasted time. "And every day that you want to waste/That you want to waste/You can … And every day that you want to change/That you want to change/I'll help you see it through," the song's protagonist promises.
Following in the same vein came the band's second single, "Call It What You Want," an anthem about independence and learning to like what you like. "What's your style and who do you listen to? Who cares?" the song asks. As the pounding bridge reached its climax, Foster joined Pontius at the drums, both Marks banging on the set as the crowd went wild.
Next came the band's latest single, "Don't Stop (Color on the Walls)," a funky pop track about not giving up.
Foster shared a story about meeting Rivers Como at a party and learning how to play "Say It Ain't So" from his idol before treating the audience to a cover of the indie rock classic, in response to Weezer's famous cover of "Pumped up Kicks."
Then came "Helena Beat," another that got the crowd jumping.Excited fans at the concert (Yahoo! Photos/Clarence Chen)
The mood slowed down as Foster sat down at the keyboard to perform "Ruby," an unreleased ballad that he declared one of his favorite songs to have written. "Warrant" and "I Would Do Anything For You" followed, winding down the night.
"Thank you so much for tonight!" Foster yelled before (finally) launching into "Pumped Up Kicks," earning a roar of approval from the audience.
"Foster the People for the world!" exclaimed Michael Toh, 18, a National Service man who attended the concert.
"The concert was really awesome, it was mind-blowing and really amazing," gushed Abby Stanley, a 15-year-old student from Australia.
"I bought my ticket at the last minute, and I'm so glad I did. It was totally worth the money, I love the energy the guys brought," said Cynthia Siew, 23, a project manager at National Technological University.
The band will be performing in Australia and South America in the coming months, as well as working on their sophomore album, Pontius shared with Yahoo!
"The last record was written by Foster and this time we're going to try and see what happens when we collaborate and just throw everything against the wall and see what comes out of it."