Indie pop band Foster the People connects with Filipino audience in first Manila concert

IMAGE Jad Deveza/ Dion Pagdonsolan


Towards reaching the final songs from its all-original set list, indie pop band Foster the People told the Manila crowd, “You got history, you got passion. You got Pacquiao!” The Los Angeles-based group performed on Saturday night, October 6, at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum as part of its Torches world tour.


Independent pop act Foster the People, known for smash hit “Pumped Up Kicks,” has a solid following of Filipino musicphiles.

This three-man band—composed of vocalist/songwriter/guitarist/keyboardist Mark Foster, bassist Cubbie Fink, and drummer Mark Pontious—proved this on its first-ever performance in Manila last Saturday night, October 8, at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

The Los Angeles-based group was pushed to visit the country by its Filipino fans, who communicated their enthusiasm for the band’s music via social networking sites Twitter and Facebook.

Prior to coming to the Philippines, Foster the People stopped over at other Asian countries, India and Thailand, as part of its world tour.

FILIPINO CONNECTION. In a press conference held earlier that day at the EDSA-Shangri La hotel in Mandaluyong, Mark proudly talked about his “connection” to the Filipinos.

“My grandfather lived here in the ‘40s. My dad lived here for two years in the ‘70s.

“I’m the third generation Foster that’s coming to the Philippines. I am so thrilled to be here.”

The band’s front man narrated to the press that his grandfather served in the military and that his dad was “in a village in the Peace Corps hours away from Manila.”

He related this funny anecdote: “My dad went to Baguio in the ‘70s.

"My dad was a hippie. He had a long red hair and a big red beard.

"And he went to the Baguio Cathedral one day. And there’s a guy in the Cathedral, he was praying.

“[When] the guy turned around and [saw my dad], his jaw-dropped and his eyes got really big and he thought he saw Saint Peter.

“The guy thought my dad was Saint Peter!”

Torches, the group’s debut album, was released in 2010.

Halfway through 2011, “Pumped Up Kicks” earned success, the single soon topping Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart.

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At the 54th Grammy Awards early this year, Foster the People was nominated for Best Group Performance and Best Alternative Album.

BIG DOME GIG. On concert night, young adults and yuppies filled the major sections of the Big Dome, one of the country’s prime concert venues.

Local indie electronica group Techno Romantics sparked the energy on stage, fulfilling their front-act duties.

At past nine in the evening, Foster the People kicked off its all-original, 13-song repertoire, with an electrifying performance of “Miss You.”

As promised by frontman Mark’s opening statements—“We are so thrilled to be here!”—the audience witnessed the band’s fervent and unconventional music-playing.

The band exhibited its knack for using multi-instruments, mainly the guitar, keyboard, synthesizer, drums, percussions, and bass.

Notable was Mark and Cubbie, plus two other band members, switching of instruments for every song number.

The concert was highlighted by Foster the People’s performance of “Houdini,” “Call It What You Want,” “Helena Beat,” and “I Would Do Anything For You.”

All four songs were quickly recognized by an audience sent in a trance by the live music.

The band likewise included “Love,” a number that indulged the crowd with the song’s unfamiliar but charming melody and lyrics.

“It won’t take us long to come back here,” said Mark, who saw his listeners pleased.

Prior to encore, Foster the People left its rapt audience hanging with “Helena Beat,” the first track in Torches.

The band satisfied the demand for more music as Mark appeared on stage again minutes after “capping” the first set.

The lead singer serenaded the audience with “Ruby” as he performed solo on stage while playing the keyboard.

The soft music segued into the grand finale as the audience went crazy upon hearing the catchy beat of “Pumped Up Kicks.”

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In chorus, the audience chanted the song’s lyrics with the band: All the other kids with the pumped up kicks/ You’d better run, better run/ outrun my gun.

Before concluding the show, Mark eagerly shared to the audience that prior to coming to Manila, he received a text message from one of the members of Maroon 5, the hit-making American rock band, who held a concert in the same venue less than three weeks ago.

It was one of the guitarists who relayed to Mark that in Manila, "everyone sings on pitch” and “the crowd sings along and they all sound amazing.”


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