Foxygen – Mercury Lounge – May 15, 2013
Bicoastal buds Sam France (Olympia, Wash.) and Jonathan Rado (New York City) comprise the duo known as Foxygen. And after hearing their song “San Francisco,” this City by the Bay native couldn’t help but get hooked on the sounds reminiscent of late-’60s Haight Ashbury. After a close call at SXSW, the boys have rested and recovered to play a trio of New York City shows this week, culminating in a sold-out Mercury Lounge gig last night. Appropriately, the venue served as the breakthrough for the band since they passed along their Take the Kids Off to Broadway EP to eventual We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic producer Richard Swift (the Shins, Damien Jurado) at a Mynabirds show at the Merc in early 2011.
Amongst a largely male crowd, France greeted the crowd with an ecstatic “Wassup?” followed by a scream that opened into “Jesusss.” Clad in black, France pranced around stage singing “On Blue Mountain” and emphatically thrusting his fist into the air. His usual stage antics had him confessing, “I don’t care if I’m in trouble at all. I’m an idiot. I don’t care. I don’t blame you. I suck.” Fans soaked up his banter and rocked along to “In the Darkness” and “Make It Known.”
As bassist Justin Nijssen sipped from his bottle of wine, France took a moment to introduce his onstage cast of characters before getting into fan favorite “Shuggie,” to a sea of bobbing heads, and then Foxygen’s recent single, “No Destruction.” The remainder of the evening was set to a cacophony of France’s screeching vocals, organ chimes and heavy basslines. The frontman climbed atop amps and the drum kit for their recent LP’s title track, “We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic.” No encore was played: “Our shit’s broken,” announced France. But that didn’t seem to bother exiting concertgoers. One even playfully concluded, “I want what they are on.” —Sharlene Chiu