WHO: Foster the People

WHERE: El Rey Theatre

WHEN: 7/7/11

“I always looked at this venue and thought, 'Man I want to play there,'” Mark Foster told the sold out crowd at the El Rey Theatre. If his band continues to skyrocket the way it has, this may be his last chance. Already tickets have gone for their show tomorrow night, and more tickets are on sale for their headlining shows at the Wiltern in October due to the insatiable demand for all things Foster The People.

Armed with a single as irresistible as lemon sorbet on a scorching hot day, Foster the People in one year have gone from local favorite to a phenomenon. All of the local rock stations are saturated with their single “Pumped Up Kicks” to the point of nausea. They've signed to a major label. And they've starred in most of the summer festivals. One would think they could do no wrong.

They did have one more major hurdle to jump: the memory of their Echo residency in January. Their performances then were disjointed and uncoordinated, like baby fawns staggering around, trying to find their legs after their born. It was nothing like the well polished EP that had garnered so much adoration.

Cubbie Fink rocking out.; Credit: Philip Cosores

Cubbie Fink rocking out.; Credit: Philip Cosores

As soon as the curtain rose last night and the first notes of “Warrant” floated across the room, it became abundantly clear that they have found their legs. In fact they could run a marathon if they wanted. Whether it was the incessant practice they got by feverishly touring or some rock boot camp Columbia put them through or perhaps something out of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Foster the People was unrecognizable from the band who played the Echo just six months ago.

For all of those people who had such high hopes for them while streaming their three songs on their website last spring, congratulations, your hopes have been realized. Practice really does make perfect.

Radiating an irrepressible confidence, the band launched into their set and played like it was their last night on earth. Each song off their debut album Torches got special attention; there were no B sides last night. It is unclear who was generating more energy, the band or the crowd. Tough call really, the place was stuffed to the gills, the sound cranked up to eleven, and the result was crackling shock waves of excitement every time there was a drum solo.

Hands stretched towards the glittering chandeliers, the crowd clapped along to nearly every song, unafraid to sing the refrain at the top of their lungs. The adoration was almost overwhelming.

Isom Innis poised and ready for action.; Credit: Philip Cosores

Isom Innis poised and ready for action.; Credit: Philip Cosores

Near the end of the night, right before the band broke out their hit single, Mark Foster relished how far he's come, “I used to make lattes with those guys. I probably made lattes for all of you. ” He grinned with an assurance of someone who will never have a day job again. “Go to the Alcove and give my boss a hard time. He's a dick.”

After their single they closed the set with “Don't Stop (Color On the Walls)” and then Los Angeles showed the ultimate sign of respect to their hometown heroes. They didn't try to beat the traffic. They didn't file out slowly. They didn't even start lingering in the hallway towards the door. Even though Foster the People had already played their single, the crowd roared for more. Their steadfastness was rewarded with a sparkling encore of “Helena Beat” that got even the security guards shuffling. Then just as quickly as it started, the evening was over, and the flushed, sticky crowd beamed as they walked into the night air.

LA Weekly