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Foster the People pump up ACL Fest at sunset

Eric Webb
ewebb@statesman.com

Chalk it up to what Foster the People frontman Mark Foster called the “golden magic light hour.” Where some would trade easy banter with a massive sunset audience in the throes of singalong reverie, Foster took his time not singing at the mic to wax solemnly about the virtues of community and his hope for the “future leaders” in the crowd to “swallow the truth” and become good influences in the future.

People cheered. But the music was good, the sky was a Monet, and for the first time on Friday, no one was sweating. They would have cheered if he had read the U.S. tax code aloud.

Make no mistake, though. Foster the People’s set on the Samsung Galaxy stage was tight, studio quality and tickled all the right parts of the eardrum. The rapid fire sing-rapping of “Call It What You Want” was a fine companion to Foster’s predilection for punctuating his words with gestures and fancy footwork, and “Life On the Nickel” matched a steady electronic build with some showcase spots for Foster’s trademark falsetto. All the pieces fell in place for musical Bildungsroman “Coming of Age,” the lead single off sophomore LP “Supermodel.” The yearning, psychedelic anthem felt like a rock ‘n’ roll group hug. (Again, the magical sunset might have come into heavy play here.)

A strobe-soaked, percussive “Miss You” led up to a clattering, fevered “Don’t Stop” that was, well, unstoppable. Quite honestly, it was the kind of performance you would be happy to see from a headliner. (And Foster the People definitely proved they can pack ‘em in — those throngs weren’t there for Beck right after.)

The band went a little over budget on their goodwill expenditures with the closing deep cut “The Truth.” Foster likely meant the trippy, hazy tune as a statement of some sort (this is what the truth-swallowing monologue turned into), but it was an odd, downbeat cap to what was otherwise a stylish, gratifying hit parade.