Concert Review: Foster the People @ Massey Hall

Foster The People
On a stormy Tuesday night in Toronto, the heat lay on the city like a lid. People were headed to the historic Massey Hall to hear Mark Foster, Jacob “Cubbie” Fink, and Mark Pontius of Foster the People. Some people brought their kids, some brought their parents, others introduced the band to their spouse or significant other, or some were even there because of a random concert ticket splurge. It was definitely not accidental. We have been dancing to their songs on repeat since 2009, the contagious syllables of Pumped Up Kicks, Houdini, the sweet melodic crooning in Coming of Age, the groove of Helena Beat, and Call It What You Want. Foster’s voice has a distinctively wide range and his falsetto… oh my, his falsetto! It was my hundredth time to Massey Hall and I had never expected that to be the location for my first time seeing this band live. In the past, every band I’ve seen there have taken the opportunity to change their set and tone it down a bit to get the full advantage of the vintage acoustics of the venue. What I did not expect was what this band delivered: a kaleidoscope of color to emerge from the stage! The backdrop was an effervescent chameleon of neon shades and changing shapes, at one point the lighting even resembled a lava lamp behind the band. It had everyone jumping and dancing.

I have a weakness for acoustic moments; and I loved when the set was stripped bare and it was just Foster and the hollowed out piano sound echoing and filling the vintage concert space. The sound of everyone’s voices singing at the same time gave me chills. There were stage props in the shape of ice glaciers that lit up at different moments in the set; the best was when they were lit up in white light, it looked like the band was glowing – it was angelic. It is without a doubt that this band knows how to foster good energy levels in the crowd – some girl in the balcony was dancing so hard I thought she was going to fall over the railing. They definitely have a strong following.

Foster the People
Photo by Catherine Olmos

At the end of the encore, Mark offered some words of encouragement to everyone: “Isolation is the enemy. We spend so much time on our smartphones that we forget to look up and be aware of our surroundings. We have to lift each other up in community to make good things happen.” If that wasn’t enough, he then lifted a young boy out of the crowd and pulled him on stage as the band made their exit. A sweet way to part with us after a great night.

Stefanie Romano | @stefaloves

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