Foster the People, Governors Ball

Foster the People perform during Day 3 of the 2014 Governors Ball Music Festival at Randall's Island on June 8, 2014 in New York City.

Taylor Hill/WireImage for Governors Ball Music Festival

Foster & co. rock the big stage with a little help from Capital Cities' Spencer Ludwig.

Oh, what “Pumped Up Kicks” hath wrought. Foster the People played the big stage at Governor’s Ball last night (June 8), packing in a crowd who was mostly there to hear one song. But Mark Foster and company ended up impressing the casual onlookers with their earnest dance-rock, playing a set mostly focused on the better material from their last album, "Supermodel."

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Foster proved to be a surprisingly engaging frontman live at times: He danced from one side of the stage to the other; he jumped from keys to guitar at the keys, and his voice remained strong throughout, occasionally soaring to a impressive falsetto. The second cut, “Are What You Want to Be?,” pounded and twisted with extra percussion and Eastern melodies, reportedly inspired by Foster’s travels in Asia and North Africa while creating, "Supermodel."

He could be a tad self-serious at times, closing his eyes for wide-mouthed vocal wails and at one point lecturing the crowd about the evils of modern technology and social media: "Isolation is our enemy… We can't lose our community."

At one point, the band was joined by Spencer Ludwig, the trumpeter from Capital Cities, another overly earnest indie-pop act who are dealing with their own monster hit, “Safe and Sound.”  

An hour-plus into the set, the inevitable finally arrived: the band broke into the earworm-y groove of “Pumped Up Kicks,” which hit No. 3 on the Hot 100 in 2011 and launched Foster the People to the main stages at festivals worldwide. Naturally, the audience went wild, happy they’d gotten what they came for. Foster didn’t seem to mind, telling the packed-in crowd: "You guys were brilliant.”

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