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SXSW Live Shot: Foster the People

Jell-O shot with your spring night ‘Supermodel’ pop?
Melanie Haupt, 2:20pm, Sat. Mar. 15

Butler Park, the green space adjacent to the Long Center, teemed with humanity on Friday evening, with young couples toting newborns and sorority girls chugging $10 cans of Fosters beer to confused grandpas and bros buying fistfuls of enormous plastic syringes filled with green Jell-O shots.

The enthusiastic presence of so many Austinites on a beautiful spring night was a reminder of why this town has such a vibrant reputation as a haven for music.

photo by Jana Birchum

Mark Foster and band delivered a fairly tight set, some vocal wobbliness from the frontman notwithstanding, striking a comfortable balance between 2011 debut Torches and the forthcoming Supermodel. Kicking things off with “Life on the Nickel,” Foster stalked the stage in a black leather jacket, white t-shirt, and jeans, utterly comfortable with his status as the thinking tween’s Bieber.

While the set was front-loaded with older material, including the sweet “Miss You” and angst-ridden “Houdini,” Foster, moving effortlessly from keyboards to guitar to mandolin, gradually transitioned to privileging the newer material, including the lovely and poignant “Coming of Age” and “Best Friend.”

Although the performance was solid, the context didn’t do the new songs justice, with very little take-away beyond “That was fun!” As the last notes of encore “Don’t Stop” faded, the experience was already slipping away like so much wine-spiked Jell-O on the tongue.

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