Foster the People / Cherry Glazerr - The Ritz, Tampa, Florida

by Mark Moody Rating: Release Date:
Foster the People / Cherry Glazerr - The Ritz, Tampa, Florida
Foster the People / Cherry Glazerr - The Ritz, Tampa, Florida

When you think of perfect rock star names, Mark Foster probably wouldn't make the top ten (we share the same first name and maybe would make the top ten accountant names at best).  On the other hand, Clementine Creevy must own the best rock star name ever - not even the Cramps could have come up with that one.  Aside from the disparity in “name coolness”, these two bands, Foster the People and Cherry Glazerr, made for quite the dichotomy.  Both bands have a drummer and that’s about where the similarity ends.  In spite of the disconnect, the club was pretty fully packed by the time Creevy and her 2016 incarnation of the band took the stage.              

Having not seen Cherry Glazerr before I was maybe expecting a bit more attitude, though keyboardist Sasami Ashworth got in a crude comment about bodily functions that I’m sure the handful of parents with kids in the audience appreciated.  And Creevy did enter the stage crawling in a dress to be followed by some crazy pop lock arm movements on the opening song.  The band mainly let their songs do the talking, with Creevy only quipping “we’re the Pussycat Dolls” at one point and a polite thank you on the way out.  Their rhythm heavy sound was spiked liberally by Ashworth’s keyboard washes that added more of a tasty, garagey sound compared to their albums.  Creevy’s appropriately punky delivery and fiery guitar bursts were on point and  her vocals were particularly snotty on ‘Told You I’d Be With the Guys’.  I would have liked it if her vocals were more up in the mix, maybe neglected by the sound board as is the typical opening band curse.  I’d definitely like to catch them headlining in the future.  As an eye catching concert first for me, there were Cherry Glazerr retro panties for sale at the merch table (also available on their website by the way).

Contrasting the bit of abandon from the openers, Foster (and his people) couldn’t have been more choreographed throughout a lively and sold-out crowd pleasing set of power synth pop.  Coming on stage in black leather jacket (de rigueur for Florida in September), Foster shed down to a Hawaiin shirt and ultimately sleeveless undershirt over the course of the night.  The drummer wore a pith helmet throughout, ready in case an exploration broke out.   Belying his humble beginnings waiting tables and busking in the Hollywood Hills, Foster seemed totally comfortable working the crowd whether dancing around or just singing at the mic.  And like his accountant worthy name, a very calculated set ensued.  Hits were sprinkled about every four or five songs, though honestly it was a pretty energetic and solid set throughout so the bigger songs only took things up a notch.  The front half of the show was anchored by a lively ‘Helena Beat’, where Foster first broke out his dance moves, and the call and response of ‘Don’t Stop (Color on the Walls)'.  

Mid-way through the set, the band started into the choppy chords of New Order’s ‘Blue Monday’, but to my dismay the vocals never kicked in.  A truncated ‘Blitzkreig Bop’ was also played, but not sure I get the connection and maybe a more obscure gem could have been reworked somehow.  The back of the set highlights were ‘Coming of Age’ and of course mega-hit ‘Pumped Up Kicks’, which seemed like it could have been stretched out a bit.  I was surprised to see Foster come out solo for the first song of the encore playing the acoustic ‘Fire Escape’ from 2014’s Supermodel.  It was definitely out of place but a welcome moment.  The staccato ‘Houdini’ was played with Foster sitting at the keyboard and the pop confection with a killer hook and ooh-aah harmonies sent the crowd out into the night with a song in their heads.  

It is a tribute to Foster that he has moved well past one hit wonder status to be able to sell out a big club and play 90 minutes of upbeat synth pop without any obvious thuds or slow spots.  Looking at Spotify stats, I’m not sure ‘Pumped Up Kicks’ will ever get outpaced, but many acts could have crumbled under the weight of that monster, so it’s good to see that Foster and his fans keep moving forward and enjoying each other’s company.

Photo credits:  Christa Joyner Moody                      


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