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Concert Review - Foxing @ The Basement

Guess who got to see Foxing for the sixth time! Me! Last night I gathered my friends and hopped in an Uber to the arena district where my favorite venue The Basement is tucked away beneath a larger bar and just outside Columbus’ bigger indoor/outdoor venue. I love The Basement because it seems so out of place amongst the flashy venues, restaurants, and bars that surround it. It’s a stepping-stone for up-and-coming underground bands to play (literally underground) and create a fan base in an intimate setting. The Basement has hosted many different artists from many different genres including Foxy Shazam, Chance the Rapper, Local Natives, twenty one pilots, Nada Surf, Greta Van Fleet, The 1975, Howie Day, the list goes on and on. The venue isn’t very large, the maximum occupancy is 300 and that’s really pushing it considering the stage area is perpendicular to the bar, making the actual stage viewing area about 1/3 of the room. I’ve seen Foxing at this particular venue four times and this was the first time it was sold out.

Now, their whole purse rule, I get it, public safety and what not. I don’t carry a very large purse; it’s mostly large enough to carry my phone, lip balm, passport (I really need to get a new ID), wallet, a coin purse, and whatever trash I haphazardly pickup off tables and stuff into it. I’ve had this purse going on three years and I’ve taken it to every show I’ve gone to in that time, including multiple shows at The Basement. Last night was the first night my purse was too big; she was just doing her job, I get it. I had to quickly take everything of worth out of my bag and stuff it in my friends’ bags and pockets, because of course I didn’t wear a jacket with any pockets. I wasn’t allowed to even stash the bag inside so I had to stuff it behind a door that I hoped would remain open all night and prayed it would still be there when we left. My purse was a casualty of war I was willing to sacrifice, because Foxing was just on the other side of that woman. Once inside, my boy friend slyly wandered off to “the restroom” while I met up with a friend by the bar. When he reappeared, he handed me a vinyl copy of Foxing’s second album “Dealer” to add to my collection because he’s a wonderful person. Now I’m two down, one to go on Foxing vinyl and I’m really trying to hold out on just ordering it online. I mean, part of collecting vinyl is the discovery process, ya’ dig?

I need to give credit to Foxing’s opening act before I carry on with my fan-girling. I shamefully didn’t know who would be opening for them until the day before the show. When I see “Foxing” and “Columbus” in the same event headline I tend to develop blinders. A mime could open for them and I’d still have a blast. Hell, they could open for the mime and I’d still buy tickets! But Chicago based pop-punkers Retirement Party really blew me away. I’ve been listening to Retirement Party for quite some time, probably thanks to some algorithm that put them in a Spotify generated playlist because I listen to Foxing so much. When I saw that they were listed as supporting act on the venue’s event page I freaked out! I adore Retirement Party’s intimate lyrics about every day things like sunburns and chapstick. They don’t play songs about grandiose displays of love, you wont get a roof-shattering ballad from this quartet, but their songs are still laced with a more relatable spectrum of emotions that can still make you laugh and cry at the same time. Plus, you already know I love me some girl rockers! Lyricist/lead vocalist Avery Springer on stage sounds exactly like their full-length album that came out just last year; any trembling or slightly off-key vocal is just apart of the unique sound they bring to the stage. They are like (early 2000’s) Fall Out Boy meets a jam band, but Patrick Stump is a girl. I’m glad to say I wasn’t the only person in attendance that was a fan of Retirement Party; my last fateful night at The Basement ended with a few drunken fans being chastised by Foxing’s Connor Murphy for talking loudly over his soft-spoken opener Many Rooms. This time around, Retirement Party had the crowds’ undivided attention and energy.

When their set finished, I raced to the merch table to of course buy more vinyl. I love the DIY band scene for the simple fact that you don’t need to buy some over-priced meet-and-greet package to meet the band; you just have to loiter around their merch table long enough. Springer slid behind the table and greeted us warmly while I handed her my money for the vinyl and slipped a little something extra into their tip jar (cleverly labeled “Retirement Fund”). While I had her to myself, I slyly inquired about whether she and the band would like to join us on an episode of The Alt Revue Podcast and Y’ALL SHE SAID YES so more on that to come! I was elated! I quickly returned to our pocket of space side stage to wait for the Foxing set to begin.

And of course they killed it! It was a healthy mix of songs from all three of their albums. I don’t even have to say they played all my favorites because really I love any songs they play, but I nearly lost my mind when they played the title track from their third album Nearer My God. Since the album came out last year, I’ve been looking forward to the very moment when I would get to sing my heart out with other die-hard Foxing fans the lyrics “And nearer my god/ At hallowed ground, holding hands/ Ashing cigarettes on gravestones/ Pin photographs on cork boards/ Unfollowing my dead friends/ Someone's gonna love me.” It was breath taking, those lyrics are gut-wrenching already for many people in my generation and for us all to just get that off our chests together was a religious experience. My boyfriend got downright rowdy as the first lyrics to “Game Shark” pierced the room. Murphy pulled out his signature trumpet multiple times (because Foxing is also a ska band) to raucous cheers from the crowd. But the thing that blew me away more than anything was when, for the first time in the six shows I’ve attended, Murphy pulled out an acoustic guitar to play the melancholy song “Bastardizer.” It wasn’t a purely acoustic rendition of the song, as the full band still played as heavily as before, but the acoustic guitar gave the song a much warmer tone, making it sadder, if that is even possible. Murphy lamented several times at how crazy it was that the show sold out, repeatedly commenting that no one else was allowed inside the building, even if they drove from other states. Midway through the set, my boyfriend mysteriously disappeared, I thought to actually use the restroom this time, only to return with my abandoned purse tucked under his arm inside his jacket and a Retirement Party long-sleeve that he is proudly wearing to work today.

As always, I was sad to see the end of the show, but made a hasty exit to avoid the bottlenecking at the doorway that I new would take place. We called another Uber and just like that another evening with Foxing had come and gone. I probably say this every time, but it was the best show yet and I can’t wait for future shows. I’m telling you guys, if you ever get the chance to see Foxing, do not pass it up! Keep an eye out for a show to pop up in a dive bar near you!

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