Foxygen with Gabriella Cohen at The Fonda
If you were seeing Foxygen for the first time on Saturday night at the Fonda Theatre, you wouldn’t think they were a band who has tried so hard to survive over the years. Although they played a so-called Farewell Tour in 2015, the tumultuous duo are back once again and with their fifth album “Hang,” which came out this January, they seem to be in a full force of meltdowns and build-ups.
While Foxygen used to come with three backup dancers/singers, they now only have one but have replaced the others with a big band of brass and horns behind them. Singer Sam France came out to the stage last with his mop of hair and some pale skin showing, making it hard to believe this duo hail from Los Angeles. They opened the set with “We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic,” and “San Francisco.” Their older shows were quite unhinged but this one was less so, albeit still theatrical. Strutting around like a Jagger-meets-Reed-meets-Bowie, France seemed to make eye contact even behind sunglasses. Jonathan Rado switched from keys to strings, sometimes standing atop his piano.
What Foxygen have honed even if they haven’t honed in on a genre, is melody. They know how to bundle together self-indulgence, ’70s piano-pop, and emotion into refocused tracks of gyrating fun. The rest of the main set was from the new album except for fan-fave “Shuggie” from their 2013 release. They returned for an encore featuring “On Blue Mountain” and “No Destruction” from “We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic” and lastly “How Can You Really” from 2014’s “… And Star Power”.