LIVE: Foxing / Fog Lake @ The Scala, London

By Sean Littlewood

Foxing are one of the most exceptional live bands around at the moment. The St. Louis emo band don’t just lean on their passionate fanbase or the emotional levity of their music either. Somehow, they continue to push boundaries both sonically and artistically, and tonight, the last time they will grace a London stage before they release a brand new record, gives them an oppertunity to explore the enchanting high’s of their last two efforts, as well as treat “one of the best places on earth to play music” to a glimpse of some exciting new material.

They are joined by Fog Lake, the outlet for Canadian Aaron Powell’s blissed out, lo-fi alt-rock, who manage an exceptional set that balances the sensitive brilliance of songs such as ‘Novocaine’ and ‘Rattlesnake’ from latest effort ‘Dragonchaser’, released earlier this year, with the harder edges of earlier material. There is some head-turning mid-set chat that references grime music too, namely Afghan Dan, the subject of a Vice documentary about the Blackpool grime scene. Ultimately though, it’s their music that will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression. A flawless, loose set that made good of the glimmering warmth and crackling subtly that make Powell’s music so impressive on record.

When it’s finally Foxing’s turn to shuffle onto the stage, the room is completely full. It’s clear this is a band of profound importance to each and every person stood anxiously in the venue, as a lulling silence is broken only when the band delicately open with “Nah Man” – a new song that radiates typical soul-bearing sadness and offers sublime insight into what’s to come from the new material.

Smoothly soaring without pause into ‘Inuit’, the second song from their 2014 debut ‘The Albatross’, they ignite the room. The absolute emotional magnitude of their performance amid the convulsing of the stage lights inflicting a scene that is genuinely impossible not to stand in awe of. It’s also quite incredible how they manage to seamlessly blend brand new material with one of their most well-know, oldest songs. A band so fraught with difficult, often intrusive emotion, singer Conor Murphy approaches each song as if he’s somehow expelling all the negative feelings he placed into them.

It must be difficult having to approach such difficult, dark feelings every night, but the band offer an ambitious performance that is as astounding as the quality and emotion of their music on record. By the time they reach ‘The Medic’ via the equally fantastic cuts ‘The Magdalene’ and ‘Glass Coughs’, their flow reaches further incredible heights. Singer Conor Murphy glides just inches from the front row to cries of the hook “if you want me to slow down, then tell me to slow down” from almost everyone present.

Heavier tracks, such as ‘Bit By Dead Bee, Pt. 1’ – where Murphy is joined on stage by one of the guys from Fog Lake – make the softer moments seem all the more poignant and by the time they reach ‘Rory’, their last song, everyone is almost completely broken. One of the greatest bands around offering what is surely one of the finest, most emotive performances in rock music. Sadly, we’ll have to wait a while before we can rejoice in that sadness again. But no matter how long that wait is, it will be more than worth it if they are even half as incredible as they are tonight.