Foster The People (w/The Chain Gang of 1974), Crystal Ballroom (PDX) June 1, 2011

Posted: June 2, 2011 in OUT OF BOUNDS!

Wow!! (I was gonna say OMG!! but that’s been overdone of late, and I don’t text anyways!)  What an absolutely amazing sold-out show by both bands last night – I still have “Helene Beat” going in my head!!

I’d been to the Crystal Ballroom last year to see Silversun Pickups, but this was the first (and only, truthfully!) time I was out on the floor (I planned on dancing!) – gotta love the floating floor (we have our own here at the WoW Hall of course!) and the crowd was fun – had the full spectrum of ages, from kids (who couldn’t see anything for the adults crowding the front rows) bouncing with their middle-aged parents (who were out-bouncing the kids – probably because they could at least see!).  The sound was excellent but still way too bass-heavy.  Fun to feel the vibrations, especially through the floor, but that is more a benefit to folks who are deaf – which you probably were by the end of the night if you weren’t wearing earplugs!  But still – absolutely awesome!!  Let me know if any of you readers were at the show, I’d like to hear some other comments as well as share any pictures/videos.  =)

The Chain Gang of 1974

The Chain Gang of 1974 was excellent – superb musicians performing to as well as with the audience.  Take 1970’s British pop rock (think The Clash) and put it with a hard rock edge, then just dance your a$$ off!

Kamtin Mohager - The Chain Gang of 1974

Especially fun was when front man/founder Kamtin Mohager gently lowered the mic stand into the middle of the floor, then joined us packed sardines with a challenge of, “I hear Portland is The Dancing City – so let’s dance!”  We did – it was a blast!  If you ever have an opportunity to see these guys perform live, don’t ask – just do it.  The single “Wayward Fire” off their recently released album “Undercover” got 7 out of 10 in SPIN Magazine’s review, and you can purchase the CD on iTunes/ or the limited edition white vinyl at  Find them at;; and   You can also see a video of a recent live performance here:

Foster The People

But of course most of us were here to see Foster The People.  With their recent smash hit, “Pumped Up Kicks” rising steadily on all the national rock music charts, it was no wonder this show sold out.  After seeing videos of some of their early live club performances, I was prepared for a less than adequate show as is so often the case with young bands.  I was blown away – these guys are F***ING AMAZING live!  With the addition of a couple new folks for the 2011 “We Knew Them When” Tour of Sean Cimino (guitar, keyboard, synthesizer, backup vocals) and Isom Innis (keyboard, piano, backup vocals)  to the original lineup of Mark Foster (lead vocals, keyboards, guitar, and percussion), Mark Pontius (drums and extra percussion), Cubbie Fink (bass and backing vocals), with Zach Heiligman doing some sampler, programming, and backup vocals (I don’t think Zach is touring with the band at this time).

Mark Foster of Foster The People

Energy was off the charts, these guys jumped/bounced/stomped on all the hard rock/dance tunes, with Mark (and Sean or Isom I think?) literally racing around the stage pounding on various drum pads, cowbell, whatever they could get their hands on.  Cubbie on base wailed backup lyrics (and I still think he’s hot),   What was really nice was the musicianship didn’t suffer as a result – this was the icing on a severely wicked piece of cake.  Pontius is a helluva drummer, sticks flying through the air on a huge drum kit when HE wasn’t racing around the stage as well!!  For a relatively young band, these guys were, simply put, perfect.

I got a chance for a brief meet-n-greet with Mark prior to the show (thanks for your time, Mark!!) and told him I loved his statement “It’s Foster the People, not Foster the Younger-Looking People” (see Billboard interview online at  When I asked him what he thought of revising it slightly as “Foster the Younger-Looking Older People,” he laughed and said, “yeah – I like it!”

I do have one tiny minus – FTP started late and finished early (coming back for the encore performance of “Helene Beat” and closing “Pumped Up Kicks”).  I would have liked to see them perform more songs from their recently released “Torches” album at this show – call me greedy!!  If someone has the set list for this show and/or photos and videos please let me know – it was just impossible to get any pictures from where we were crammed in the middle of the floor (sucks being 5’2″).

I’ve chosen “Call It What You Want” as The Club Circuit’s theme song (lyrics below) – live video from SXSW 2011 here:

Find FTP here:;; and of course their webpage at  I’m sure they’ll be back to the area soon – be sure to follow that so you can catch them live.  Their album is excellent as well (I’m not reviewing that here!)

Lyrics “Call It What you Want” (Paul Epworth, Mark Foster):

Call it what you want
I said just call it what you want
Yeah we’re locked up in ideas
We like to label everything
Well I’m just gonna do here what I gotta do here
‘Cause I gotta keep myself free
You’re ducking and moving just to hide your bruising from all your enemies
And I’m in the crossfire dodging bullets from your expectancies
We’ve got nothing to lose
You better run and hide
Yeah you’ve crossed the line
I’ve got a knife behind my back (just sayin’)
We’ve got nothing to prove
Your social guides give you swollen eyes
But what I’ve got can’t be bought so you can just
Call it what you want
I said just call it what you want
You’ve taken your words and you take your judgments
And stick them onto everything
If it don’t conform to what you were born into,
Then you run the other way
You say, “now what’s your style and who do you listen to?” who cares?
Well that rat race ladder-climbing fake-face smile’s got nothing on me

  1. Noah Bales says:

    I have to say it totally blew me away also, I have been a die hard FTP fan since I heard there stuff for the very first time. Mark has one of the strongest voices I have ever heard. I live in Seattle and I came all the way down to Portland just to see them. Great show, great band.

  2. chance says:

    i was there and they performed every single song on the album i dont know what you are talking about when you said that you wanted them to perform more from torches also it was an amazing night

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