Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Gig Review: Fleet Foxes, Roundhouse

Seattle five-piece Fleet Foxes shuffle onto the stage, barely acknowledging the audience, and spend a couple of minutes tuning up their instruments and nodding to each other. Given their slightly shambolic appearance and excess facial hair on show, you'd have thought they were roadies if the lights hadn't dimmed.

And then... and then...

They step forward to the microphones and, out of nowhere, the most beautiful four-piece harmony rings out. The thrumming crowd is instantly hushed - and remains so for the next 75 minutes.

Listening to the Fleet Foxes is like being sucked into a time vaccuum. Those intricate vocal arrangements and earnest musicianship wouldn't sound out of place at Woodstock - particularly in Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's career-defining set.

The band, too, seem untouched by the modern world. Their lyrics are firmly rooted in nature and the passing of the seasons - all cold winds, snow-capped mountains, rolling streams and hymns to the green shoots of spring.

It's interesting to see how a crowd more used to rock music deals with the luscious beauty of these songs. A reverential, uncoordinated sway seems to the order of the day - except for one gentleman in the front row, who bizarrely elects to headbang throughout the set.

Funnily enough, that dichotomy is reflected on stage, too. While frontman Robin Peckold stands rooted to the stage for most of the set, guitarist Skyler Skjelset requires an almost athletic ability to reproduce his intricate guitar lines.

Stand-out moments included current single Mykonos and a driving run-through of Blue Ridge Mountains. And when Pecknold abandoned all amplification to stand at the front of the stage, guitar hitched up to chest height, and cover traditional song Katie Cruel, you could have heard a pin drop.

Undoubtedly, the Roundhouse is the perfect venue for this sort of intimate, acoustic folk-pop. But if Fleet Foxes are playing any sun-drenched midday sets at this summer's festivals, you would be mad to miss them.

Update: Fleet Foxes have just performed Mykonos on Radio 1's Live Lounge. And it sounded a little bit like this:

[Pictures courtesy of Mr Ush on Flickr]

Labels: , ,

<< Home

Newer Posts ::: Older Posts

© 2014 Discopop Directory | Contact | Go to the homepage