The Columbia, Missouri band is fresh off their release of Fallout Stations EP (QRO review), the follow-up to last year’s oh-so-fine debut, Prompts/Miscues (QRO review). They’ve been on a whirlwind tour – first West Coast, then East Coast – before heading back to rock the Great Lakes. But before hitting the Blue State north of the Red State heartland, on Saturday, August 4th, 2007, they delivered a great set in the heart of Blue country, balanced between Prompts, Fallout, and even newer material.
Calling Foundry Field a ‘Midwestern band’ is kind of unfair, considering the songs on Prompts range all the way across the pond (“Spain Never Made It”) and all the way across Europe (“Warning Raids Over Kiev”). That could be heard clearly with the first words of the night from guitarist/singer Billy Schuh, “Caught with the Russian Revolution / With your army of silver men”, the opening lyrics to “Battle Brigades Part II”. “Battle Brigades Part II” (which is, by the way, clearly superior to “Battle Brigades Part I”) began their set on a high-note, as its atmospheric, expansive qualities don’t skimp on the emotion, but also don’t overplay it. Foundry Field returned things to America right afterwards, as Schuh bantered with the audience, “Nobody’s originally from New York. You’re all from Kentucky, Idaho, Illinois, other states…” To which a fan yelled, “Wisconsin!”, bring the whole band to yell back, “Wisco!”
The following “Assembled Hazardly” proved it’s better assembled live than on Prompts, as its more anthemistic, and it served well as a lead-in to the band’s two brand-new pieces, “The Merchants” and “Margaret On High”. “Merchants” was easily the most outright rock of the night, but the rock ‘n’ roll energy didn’t take away from the number’s seriousness and emotion. “Margaret” could maybe have used a chip off that rock, as the still-good song was perhaps a little too overwrought in its feeling.
But then Foundry Field launched into the night’s highpoint, an absolutely amazing rendition of the absolutely amazing “Spain Never Made It”. Powerful and gripping on Prompts, the band somehow still managed to find a way to punch it even more at Piano’s (QRO venue review). If the following “Fallout Stations” couldn’t quite match “Spain”, that was no fault of the moving, haunting EP title track, and, in some ways, it was different enough not to invite a comparison. “Warning Raids Over Kiev” split that difference well, and its more upbeat feel and catchiness let things get a little lighter.
Foundry Field Recordings closed the evening out with a rollicking “Transistor Kids”, and while good, concluding with the Fallout track meant that the band never played their unbelievably great Prompts single, “Holding The Pilots/Holding The Facts”. But, like Fallout Stations, their set at the too-tight Piano’s wasn’t just a show, but also a promise of more to come, and hopefully they’ll have their pilots and facts with them when they return. But return they will, and based off of this performance, one can hardly wait.