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Foster the People w/Canon Blue 

When: Wed., June 29, 9 p.m. 2011
Price: $10
So you’ve heard this song, right? You can’t not have heard this song. Before they’d even released their debut LP — Torches, which only came out last month — Foster the People’s single “Pumped up Kicks” had become an international hit, selling hundreds of thousands of copies and eventually soaring to No. 2 on Billboard’s Alternative Songs chart. They even sold out Mercy Lounge before their record was released, necessitating the show’s move downstairs to Cannery Ballroom. Why? Well, for starters, according to Billboard’s Jill Menze, the single “attracts hipsters [and] moms” alike. And that makes sense. With its chilled-out, whirling electronic instrumentation and lazy groove, “Pumped up Kicks” is nonchalant enough to pass among smarmy baristas and record-store clerks. But it’s that absurdly, dangerously infectious chorus — which, as with any good charting single, is repeated about 74 damn times — that pulls in the tweens, their moms and everyone else who likes to buy singles via iTunes. So what about the rest of their material? Well, Torches is a fairly strong debut release, especially for a band so young. Tunes like “Houdini” hover dangerously close to unctuous, saccharine Maroon 5-y territory, and “Call It What You Want” sounds like a relatively uninspired club number. But the rest of the record sparkles with surprisingly sophisticated, idiosyncratic production and melodic complexity. We’re gonna have to face it: We’ve got another Vampire Weekend-esque (culturally speaking, not sonically speaking) fast-rising, epic buzz band on our hands, and there will likely be blowback. But these kids definitely have potential. Let’s give ’em a shot.
— D. Patrick Rodgers

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