Having upsized from the originally booked Borderline, and then sold out the Tufnell Park Dome, the six members of Missouri’s Foxing begin, without ceremony having just set up their instruments, with the paced ‘The Medic’ from their first album, Albatross.
A lack of ceremony in their start, though, doesn’t do justice to the grandeur of Foxing as a live touring act. Their songs fill out the sold out Dome with ease, either by sheer force, like with ‘Bit By A Dead Bee Pt 1‘, or by restraint, with cuts from their most recent album Dealer, ‘The Magdalene‘ and ‘Eiffel‘.
The lighting at the Dome is fantastic, sometimes reminiscent of church stained glass windows, in a nice tie-in to the themes of Dealer. This adds to the emotiveness of frontman Conor Murphy’s vocals and erratic stage presence, as he shimmies between in your face indie rock whining, to a more restrained falsetto. Foxing are at their best when this is exploited on record, and it’s also the case live. The run between Albatross‘ openers ‘Bloodhound‘ into ‘Inuit‘, which is performed live in the same way as on the album, is a perfect example of his range, and the dynamic works similarly to Isaac Brock’s in Modest Mouse, being at his most tender and most severe within seconds. The band are a good foil for Murphy, and punctuate his peaks and troughs.
Sometimes on record Foxing can have the potential to border on meandering. However, live they have a cohesion that eradicates this and the band have a focus and directness, even on their more post-rock numbers. The sound is, like the records, crisp, just in a more dynamic and imposing way.
The range of their songs flirting between soft emo ballads to aggressive indie-rock with subtle math rock guitar riffs makes for a varied audience make-up, but they’re responsive nonetheless, with the most recent single ‘Night Channels‘ receiving a good reaction, along with closer to their set ‘Rory‘.
An hour long set is perfect from Foxing, allowing them to pack everything in, include some more ambient and drawn out moments, but also keeping it tight for the crowd who remain engaged throughout. Had this show not been upgraded it would have been a shame, because visually and musically Foxing are a resplendent live band, The effect of the bigger stage is noticeably telling, and definitely deserved.
Photo credit: Stuart Bennett