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Concert review: Foxing shines in sold-out show at The Basement

Foxing perform onstage at The Basement in Columbus on Jan. 11. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo Editor

Conor Murphy was shocked by the turnout.

The lead singer looked out on a sold-out crowd Friday night. He said he and his bandmates were giddy on the bus prior to the show, saying it was always a goal of theirs to play in front of a capacity crowd.

But with the way the band played on Friday night, it would not be surprising to see Foxing return to Columbus in the future to play in a venue double or triple the size of The Basement.

As soon as Murphy took the stage, draped in a blanket similar to a Snuggie, and the electronic drum pattern of “Grand Paradise,” the first track off Foxing’s newest album “Nearer My God,” began, the 300-person crowd was in the palm of his hand. The lead singer bounced around the stage, hanging from the metal beams on the top of the venue, singing into the faces of the faithful fans in the front row, screaming every word along with him.

There was an eclecticism to Foxing, an element that can be seen in some cases when listening to the three albums the band has released since its inception in 2011. However, with a combination of crisp drums, guitar reminiscent of mid-2000s alternative indie music and Murphy’s voice — a sharp tenor that weaved its way in and out of falsetto, using a tone and screams that are familiar in emo rock music — the level of intricacy and musicianship was shown.

This was used in a way that is different to the kind of music Foxing plays. As songs like “The Magdalene” and “Inuit” continued to build up, with the slashing guitars of Eric Hudson and Ricky Sampson and the driving beat of Jon Hellwig, Murphy brought out a trumpet, using it as a high-pitched melody when these songs hit their climax.

But Murphy still seemed to question his worth, the worth of the band, telling the sold-out crowd he was not sure what the reaction to “Nearer My God” would be, with the differing styles and the creative approach the band took.

Then the band went into the new album’s title track, with the lead singer continuing to question “Does anybody want me at all?” with a vigor and intensity that, feeding off the energy of the venue, became one of the highlights of the night.

Despite staying in the wheelhouse of the emotional indie rock, Foxing felt like a band that was becoming bigger and bigger with each song that was played, peaking with the song “Slapstick,” a single off of the latest record, a song that, as it continued, felt like it would become a song that defined a band that seemed to be on its rise to prominence.

Opening for Foxing, Retirement Party, a four-piece rock band, gave concertgoers a basic level of garage rock, but not limiting it to simple chord progressions punk bands use. Avery Springer, the lead singer, led the band through a loud 40-minute set, singing quirky songs about dying from cancer after getting a bad sunburn through tight and quick drum beats and fuzzy guitar riffs.

Throughout the hour-long headlining set, Foxing had a goal in mind.

“I want to be loved,” Murphy screamed through during “The Medic,” a single off the band’s debut album “The Albatross.”

As the crowd screamed along, singing every word Murphy did, feeding off a palpable energy that a sold-out show can bring, that goal was achieved.  

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