Not since my freshman year of college have I had a night quite like the one I spent with Foxing, an ambient rock band from St. Louis, Missouri. I drove to Omaha, Nebraska and met up with the band members, some of whom I know from my one year stint at Webster University. The show at Omaha’s Slowdown bar marked the first show that any of the bands had ever played in Omaha and also kicked off their international tour that will extend over the next four months.
The night started off innocently, unloading the trailer and starting to set up the equipment. I watched as the members dug through boxes to find a banner which had been left at home and realizing that they needed a few more supplies from Guitar Center.
Foxing has put out two full length albums, The Albatross and Dealer, and has them available on CD, digital, vinyl or cassette. Dealer was released in Oct. 2015 and both albums have received praise from indie and mainstream reviews.
Lead singer and trumpet player Conner Murphy writes most of the lyrics with bassist Josh Coll. The two have been making waves and getting noticed for their work on The Albatross and Dealer. Foxing is headlining their first tour with ADJY, Tancred and Lymbyc System as the opening acts. And with the pressure of being headliner, the members of Foxing picked an small and welcoming fan base to get their collective feet under them.
Approximately 40-45 people were in the doors when the ADJY took to the stage. Foxing talked about the crowd and had to keep reminding themselves that they wanted a small crowd for the first show. The audience slowly grew through the next two and a half hours but Foxing was a little busy in the van.
After a run to Guitar Center and a declined offer to hotbox in my car, the band sat in the van talking about thedirty.com. Foxing bonded in the smoke filled van and over Stacy’s peta chips and hummus in the green room above the venue.
About 75 people found a place in front of the stage or at a table at the back of the room. After three opening acts and two blunts, it was time for Foxing to take the stage.
The small stage and bar placing left little space between the band and the audience, but no one minded. Moments before the show, Foxing decided to use a fog machine…and that turned into a fantastic idea. Light globes on the stage lit Foxing from the ground up and the fog surrounded the band in a mist of ambient and omnipresent light.
This lighting scheme encapsulated the music and the essence of the band. The hard work and the attitudes of all of the musicians came out through the music which was written together, not just by a single member.
Like most of the people in the bar, I was listening to Foxing for the first time. The two previous records had not crossed my desk, but now, less than 36 hours since the concert ended, I have listened to both albums.
The band comes through loud and clear on the vinyl and the mp3s which is great for those who love to dissect the lyrical and inspirational aspects of the songs. But in concert, the vocals are lost in the synthesized haze of music and effects. The aesthetic look and sound of Foxing’s set drove across a fantastic moment for the audience at Slowdown.
It was a simple, elegant and completely organic moment where this wave of ambience and soft light was all that could be seen or heard. No one said a word and the bass fumbled through the rafters and the chests of the audience and that was the moment when I knew that this band was going to build a fanbase around the world.
Personally, nothing quite can explain what it was like to be at this show and to see these effects. And sadly, I’m afraid none of the other shows on this tour will be the same. The intimate and loving room of exceptional music and whiskey shots was something that I have never experienced at any other show.
Foxing showed me a great time throughout the day and just when I couldn’t imagine it getting any better, they went on stage and showed what a packed out arena can’t accomplish. With no other tour, except an unplugged or underground tour, can you get this unclose and personal.
Murphy took plenty of chances to thank the fans for coming out and for being so welcoming. It had been months since the band had played together but it was impossible to tell when they were up on stage.
A fan from Kearney, NE drove 372 miles roundtrip to see the show, which he said was totally worth it. He first heard about Foxing back when he “was really into Tumblr” and this was his second time at a Foxing concert. The first time was when he took a trip into Colorado just to see the six-piece STL band.
Unlike most bands, Foxing won’t be doing any curtain calls on their tour (at least not planned). The guys drew up a 12 song setlist and plan to leave it alone during the tour. With just two albums, they don’t have a lot of material but more than that, Murphy said “we are pretty much playing any song that people are going to give a shit about.”
If the band comes within 200 miles of your location and you have $15 or $20 extra bucks to spend, go see them. Get in the car and buy a ticket to go see Foxing. I guarantee that you won’t regret it.
If you want to download any of their stuff before the show, check out their Bandcamp page.
March 08 – Detroit, MI @ Loving Touch *
March 09 – Columbus, OH @ The Basement *
March 10 – Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop *
March 11 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer *
March 12 – Boston, MA @ Middle East (early show) *
March 13 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom *
March 14 – Oneonta, NY @ Hunt Union Waterfront (SUNY Oneonta) ~
March 15 – Hamden, CT @ The Space ^
March 16 – Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel ^
March 18 – Norfolk, VA @ Work | Release ^
March 19 – Carrboro, NC @ Local 506 ^
March 21 – Orlando, FL @ The Social ^
March 22 – Tampa, FL @ Crowbar ^
March 24 – Houston, TX @ Walter’s ^
March 25 – Austin, TX @ Sidewinder ^
March 26 – Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey ^
March 28 – Phoenix, AZ @ Rebel Lounge ^
March 29 – San Diego, CA @ The Irenic ^
March 30 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Roxy ^
March 31 – San Fransisco, CA @ Bottom Of The Hill ^
April 2 – Portland, OR @ The Hawthorne ^
April 3 – Seattle, WA @ Chop Suey ^
April 6 – Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge ^
April 8 – St. Louis, MO @ The Luminary ^
April 16 – Reykjavik, Iceland @ Hurra
April 19 – Kebenhavn K, Denmark @ Huset-KBH
April 20 – Amsterdam, Netherlands @ Winston
April 21 – Hamburg, Germany @ Hafenklang
April 22 – Berlin, Germany @ Uncle M Fest
April 23 – Munter, Germany @ Uncle M Fest
April 24 – Antwerpen, Belgium @ JC Kavka
April 25 – Wiesbaden, Germany @ Schlachthof
April 27 – Manchester, UK @ Sound Control
April 28 – Glasgow, UK @ Audio
April 29 – Norwich, UK @ Owl Sanctuary
April 30 – London, UK @ The Dome Tufnell Park
May 1 – Southampton, UK @ Joiners
May 12 – Nashville, TN @ The End
May 13 – Atlanta, GA @ Shaky Knees Festival
May 28 – Suffolk, VA @ LAVA Festival
* – with Lymbyc Systym, Tancred & Adjy
~ – with Tancred
^ – with O’Brother, Tancred & Adjy
Image via Tumblr