It can be hard work selling Foxygen as a real band rather than a gimmick.
Take the way both members (Jonathan Rado and Sam France) present themselves at Toronto’s Opera House: One positioned in the shadows, presiding as musical mastermind while the other struts and sings wildly.
It is not a put-on, though. This Californian duo’s unique sound, and archetypal yin and yang dynamic, just happens to echo an old cliché of rock music. Be it Mick and Keith, Bowie and Ronson, or even Hall and Oates before them.
Opposites do attract, and in this case, bring a chaotic passion to their music. This is definitely a flesh and blood partnership.
Tonight, a backing band of half a dozen accompanies the twosome onstage. The crowd’s excitement has reached fever pitch.
Combining pop sensibilities, a punk sneer and glammed-up sexuality, each song is kissed with fables of California. A hippy spirit weaves its magic through the melody of “San Francisco,” recasting sounds of the ’60s for fans of modern, textured psychedelia.
Later on, theatrical hand gestures and androgynous hip shakes are on full display as the band blast into the eight-song track list of Hang, their newest album. Dancing with the backing vocalist before disappearing for a costume change, lead singer Sam France re-emerges, peerless on “Rise Up’ and proving he is the same bold performer he has always been.
With the added horn section, the night’s final number “How Can You Really” sounds brighter than ever imagined. To think, for a band that swore their previous tour was their last, one would be hard-pressed to think that it was ever in jeopardy.
Foxygen bid farewell with gratitude and smirks ear-to-ear. The beams of light begin to fade; the disco ball gradually slows to a stop. It truly was a pleasure to hang.
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Review and Photos by Myles Herod | @mylesherod