Monday, March 31, 2008

The Fleet Foxes at Bowery Ballroom, 03/29/08

The Fleet Foxes are a group that I’m sure everyone will be hearing a lot about in the near future. They’ve recently signed with Sub Pop and are prepping a debut album, Ragged Wood, which can already be found on the internets. The prelude to that is a five song EP, Sun Giant, which is an all too short and overwhelmingly beautiful introduction to the Seattle band.

I was lucky enough to catch them perform at the Bowery Ballroom this weekend, which reinforced my amazement of their music. Sun Giant perfectly captures the essence of the band but the vibrancy of the live show can’t be compared.

Maybe it’s just me being raised on “oldies” music but something about the Fleet Foxes resonates with me very strongly. They will almost certainly draw comparisons to Crosby, Stills and Nash. Even during the show, I was thinking that this is exactly what CS&N would sound like if they were new and vital today. I’m a total sucker for the Fleet Foxes’ lush harmonies and melodies. The sound is reminiscent but not derivative at all.

It’ll be jarring for some who are expecting a certain sound from a Seattle Sub-Pop signee. But their music does seem fitting for the picturesque Northwest scenery. I can imagine these guys sitting around a campfire playing these tunes for each other. The music evokes something within me that makes me want to hear it while on a long road trip across the country. It’s uplifting and serene yet intense and vibrant at the same time.

The guys seemed very down to earth. Pecknold was curled up in a chair with a guitar as if he were casually playing in his den.

Despite having a very limited discography (Sun Giant is even supposedly a tour or web-order only release), they already have a devoted following, that even surprised the band during several points in the show. The lead singer, Robin Pecknold, would sing the first line of a song off the yet-to-be-released album which drew cheers from the crowd. It caused him to do a double take and stall on the song. The 22 year old (yeah, that’s right) grimaced after every song as if he had butchered the song (due to being affected by the flu), but the crowd loved every song and the band was visibly moved by the warm reception they were receiving in New York.

Before the concert, I had only heard the five songs on the EP (albeit over and over again) and was thinking during the show that I really really hoped that they would release more material soon. Some bands I can only take in short doses, so an EP is much more preferable than, say, a double disc album. But with the Fleet Foxes, I have a feeling that I would devour as much as they’d be willing to produce.

White Winter Hymnal


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