Straight from the dusty desert playground of Coachella, Foxygen played to a sold-out crowd at The Chapel Wednesday night in the Mission. They’re the neo-flower children reviving what is most likely their grandparent’s generation of free love, jangly guitars, and sexually ambiguous hip-hugger jeans with just enough of the WTF factor to genuinely fit into San Francisco. The packed floor of kids who were also the band’s barely adult age of early twenty-something went ballistic.
The first time I saw Foxygen was last year when Unknown Mortal Orchestra headlined at the Great American Music Hall. 2013’s We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic release had been on constant repeat on my headphones and in the office, and on-stage their over the top circus-like antics with a hefty dose of 60’s nostalgia was endearing. This was before the eye-brow raising drama that would occur that summer of lead singer Sam France breaking his leg while climbing a monitor on-stage and canceling a tour, and band members bashing other band members in a blog post.
But on Wednesday night, Sam France sashayed out with purple lipstick and the lowest of hip-huggers I’ve ever seen on a guy. He yowled, snarled, and at one point looked exactly like a human were-pup. The crowd was entranced despite sloppy back-up singers and barely intelligible banter from France “punk rock and stuff… aol.” Like at Coachella, they teased everyone with a few new songs which suggests the band could be working on a new album. Jonathan Rado on his Nord interacted minimally, mutely shrouded by a brown cowboy hat on top of a mess of curls. The howling horror-pop retro-tunes made a solid statement that Foxygen is still a troupe standing together, despite a shaky public image.