It was two hours before the show last Tuesday, and the line outside Central Park’s Rumsey Playfield had already extended to the street. True to form, many in line were donning their finest pair of Chucks as they sat waiting on the hot gravel.
Foster the People is among some of the biggest acts to headline SummerStage 2012, having snagged three dates during the festival as part of their last US tour for Torches. Comprised of Mark Foster (vocals, keyboards, piano, synthesizers, guitar, programming, percussion), Cubbie Fink (bass and backing vocals) and Mark Pontius (drums, extra percussion) the band released their debut album a year ago. Since then, word of mouth about the Los Angeles trio has been gaining momentum, thanks mostly to generous airtime given to “Pumped Up Kicks.” At a time when it seems so necessary to categorize oneself as “indie” or “pop,” and when what you listen to seemed to determine who you are, FTP managed to get a number one hit radio single out of a pepped-up song about an emotionally-disturbed kid who goes on a school shooting rampage.
Foster The People’s dexterity brought together the talents of two very different openers; Kimbra and The Kooks.
Although the Kimbra’s Vows debuted at number 14 on the iTunes charts, much of the crowd’s murmurings appeared to come to the conclusion that she was Gotye’s better half in “Somebody That I Used to Know.”
So when the 21-year old New Zealand native bounced on stage in her spacey, jewel-encrusted hoop dress and the bass dropped, many were taken aback. This woman has the bright red lipstick coyness of Regina Spektor with Jessie J’s moves. Her tambourine and shimmying skills were on display as she performed her hits, “Cameo Lover,” “Good Intent” and “Two Way Street” during her half-hour set. And it wasn’t before long that she had everyone joining in on her songs’ trademark handclapping.
Then in a visually anticlimactic turn, Luke Pritchard of The Kooks came onstage in a burgundy sweater and some really tight tan trousers. Fans of the Brit indie rock band were there in multitudes, and the girls seemed quite keen on his cute accent. Along with Hugh Harris, Paul Garred and Peter Denton, the troupe regaled everyone with their classics, “Naïve,” “Always Where I Need to Be” and “Shine On,” along with tracks from their recent release, Junk of the Heart. A minimalist approach works well in their favor—they’ve got the sunny charm of the Arctic Monkeys, minus the thrashing.