Remember the song “Pumped Up Kicks?” An upbeat track by the American indie rock band, Foster the People which was released back in 2011? Though very catchy, the song’s lyrics are heavy if you truly take listen. It is a song about a boy named Robert who imagines taking his father’s gun and inflicting damage to his classmates.
The song, after all these years still weighs on the band who, during their performance in Charlotte, North Carolina last night declined to play their biggest hit. This comes 24 hours after a gunman opened fire on the crowd at a country music festival that was taking place on the famous Last Vegas Strip. Hundred of shots rained down over several minutes causing festival goers to quickly flee the Route 91 Harvest Festival. The attack left 58 people killed and more than 500 injured which as of today is the deadliest mass shooting in modern history.
During the show, Marc Foster, the frontman of the band took center stage and reflected on the growing problem of gun violence in America. “We are all aware of it. We all know what’s going on and we’re scared. Everybody’s scared.” Foster would continue to say that “It’s not about politics…It’s not a Republican thing. It’s not a Democrat thing. It’s a human thing.” He urged the audience to “love each other every day.” Toward the end of his message, Foster addressed the themes of the track explaining that, “It felt wrong for us tonight to play ‘Pumped Up Kicks,’” he said. “It felt like it would’ve been irreverent, even though that song is about gun violence and stopping that.” The band took a change to the set and instead of performing the popular hit song, they went with a cover of John Lennon’s “Love.”
Love was felt in the audience throughout Foster’s words. Fans in the audience that night could be heard expressing their love for the band and even fell silent for a moment when Foster brought up the tragedy at Newtown. Fans were there to show support. Their screams of love overpowering as Foster spoke his feelings and concerns. No one in the crowd responded in hate.
Back in 2011, the band stated, “The song is an amazing platform to have a conversation with your kids about something that shouldn’t be ignored, to talk about it in a loving way.”
During these harsh times, people should start having this conversation to anyone who will listen.
You can watch footage of that moment below.
Photo Credit: Owen Ela