Psychedelic rock icons Foxygen performed at the Majestic Saturday night, capturing an intense glam vibe with their impressive grooves and on-stage antics.
Songwriting duo Sam France and Jonathan Rado were accompanied by a seven-piece band featuring a grandstanding brass section, adding a new element of energy to their typically soft-rock repertoire. The set was anchored by fan-favorite songs “San Francisco” and “Shuggie” off their breakthrough album, We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic, but found its heart in their more recent work released after the band’s 2014 magnum opus and reimagining, … And Star Power.
Foxygen’s oddball style of rock ‘n’ roll embraces ‘60s-style psychedelia within its joyful, poppy trappings. Whereas the band’s studio albums revel in carefree low-fi weightlessness, the sound on stage took on a denser, fuller voice. The three-piece brass section added intelligent harmonies and lines to each song, resulting in a fleshed-out funk appeal.
In nearly every song in the set, musical elements would dissolve away to a robust, fresh bassline. Singer Sam France would disengage from the audience to bring attention to the band as the brass layered into an intense, show-stopping groove. These breaks highlighted the strengths of the talented band, but after repeating this tactic in multiple songs, the grooves began to feel like a forced crowd-pleaser.
While it was altered in the musical performance, the weightless appeal of Foxygen’s albums, manifested itself in France’s near-transient movements. France would stumble about the stage, occasionally engaging in whimsical, choreographed dance moves. His glam-rock aesthetic appeared in the silky materials of his clothes and a full-face of theatrical make-up.
Clumsiness became a major part of his act as he mishandled microphone stands and tripped about. At one point, France let go of his light grip on the microphone, dropping it on a front-row audience member’s face. Despite the accident, his antics accented the trip-rock appeal of the music.
Foxygen’s onstage energy indulged in genres ranging from soft-rock to funk, charming the crowd with deftly crafted grooves and an engaging stage presence.