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Foster the People pumps up the Belly Up Tavern

Foster the People live at the Belly Up Tavern-slide0
Photo: Lauren Wilson

It was only a few years ago where it was impossible to not hear the Grammy nominated hit, “Pumped Up Kicks,” the breakout single by LA-based Foster the People. Made up of Mark Foster, Cubbie Fink, and Mark Pontius, as well as a few touring members, Isom Innis and Sean Cimino, Foster the People’s success seemed to come out of nowhere.

Currently on tour with Young and Sick, and soon appearing at Coachella, Foster the People have been busy touring and promoting their sophomore album, Supermodel, which was released in March. Escaping from the sophomore slump, the newest album has been met with mostly favorable reviews, and even peaked at #1 on the Billboard Charts. Introspective yet adventurous, the album is saturated with sound yet manages to keep to the catchy tunes over darker lyrical themes that catapulted “Pumped Up Kicks” into mainstream success.

Their tour brought them to the incredibly intimate Belly Up Tavern, in Solana Beach. Sold out weeks before, and barely any room to move around, fans still enthusiastically piled in to the small venue. Opening with “Life on the Nickel,” from their first album, Torches, Foster the People got the band pumped from the get go. Throughout the night, they covered a wide range of songs from both CDs, while making sure to touch most of the singles they’ve released in the past 3 years. From beginning to end fans were dancing, clapping along or, notably during “Pumped Up Kicks,” had their phones out to take a bit of the show home with them.

The setup of the band was a bit different than most, with Mark Pontius at the drums at the front of the stage, and the touring members more toward the back. Throughout the set, it was hard to keep up with who played what, as many of the performers would switch between instruments, sometimes in the middle of a song. The band, though their songs are heavy on electronics, are all very talented in their respective instruments, and have a unique stage presence that keeps the audience dancing. Innis had an explosive energy, who would pound on an extra drum set alongside Pontius in an impressively timed and seemingly choreographed manner.

The brainchild of the band, Mark Foster, steals the show. His vocal range is extraordinary; a natural falsetto that dips down to a low tenor with the greatest of ease. Throughout the set, he can be found dancing, whether it be his famous shoulder shrug, or some fancy foot work.

With some catchy tunes, incredible talent, and just an overall energized and memorable live show, it’s no wonder Foster the People have gained such success in the past few years. Though they landed abruptly on the mainstream scene, it still doesn’t look like they are slowing down anytime soon.