By Joe DeBonis
I had seen Foxygen perform one song before. It was at Pitchfork two summers ago and during that one song, Sam France had climbed a 20 foot tall pole during the song, thought about jumping off, decided against it so he climbed down and just threw himself on the ground anyways once he was a little closer. Now I had figured, that was just one song, he can’t be too crazy, their music is too relaxed for that. So I talked my dad into driving me up to Santa Fe for the show thinking that he would have a good time listening to what I anticipated would be some mellowish acoustic rock songs. Boy could I have not been more wrong. What followed was one of the most intense yet happy shows I have ever been to and my somewhat passive fandom of Foxygen blossomed into a very fangirlesque appreciation.
Me and my dad got to the venue a bit early, but that was OK, Skylight is worth a couple extra minutes to explore. What obviously used to be an outdoor patio had been covered by a gigantic skylight with covered seating surrounding the stage a story above. It was a quaint little space that honestly reminded me of a place in Athens. Once the crowd started to show up I got even more of an Athens vibe as all the hipsters of Santa Fe came out from hiding to watch Foxygen do their thing.
The opener was decent, both musically and with their somewhat hilarious attitude. At first it kind of seemed like they were trying too hard to be funny, but after I saw what Sam France had in store with Foxygen I realized the first band was just trying to emulate him. More and more people slowly trickled in and by the time Foxygen was ready, the venue was decently full.
To start it all, Sam France came running up from the crowd about a minute into the first song and the instant he hit the stage, I knew it was going to be a wild night. His ridiculous all white suit flashed in the light as he jumped, kicked and flung himself about like a lunatic with a demon trapped inside of him. His first move was to kick his mike stand into the crowd and then promptly half trip half jump onto the brick floor. He was eccentric, hilarious and most of all invested in his performance as he made sure to act as fluidly and erratically as possible throughout the whole set. Throughout the night he proceeded to jump into the drum set, slip off the stage multiple times and almost kick the monitors into the crowd on many occasions. He had a wrist brace on which I could only assume was from shenanigans from a previous show.
Normally people are not to into artists being this crazy, especially the older crowd that filled Skylight that night. Instead they embraced his eccentricities and laughed with him each time he made a silly joke and cringed with him each time he fell. It was beautiful to see such a warm reception to such an obviously hard worker and I felt and instant camaraderie with the band and Sam France in particular as they poured their souls into the performance.
Band wise there were 9 members total; two guitarists, three back up singers, a drummer and the other essential part of the band, Jonathan Rado. They all had a great chemistry led by France and the whole band fed off his incredible energy. Each song seemed to always start so quietly, but by the end everybody was playing their instruments as loud as physically possible and as France whipped himself and the crowd into even more of a frenzy, the band stayed right there with him. It was such an impressive display of musical ability and fun liveliness that I could not stop smiling the entire night. Rarely do bands look like they are having as much fun as Foxygen did and I appreciated it all the more having just gone to a fairly bad show two nights earlier. I can’t even say I recognized more than a couple songs because they were starting to play their new album that is set to drop in a couple days, but it did not matter. They made each song accessible and easy to get into and this was possibly my show of the year based solely off the pure entertainment value the band provided.