“There’s something about this place… I feel like we are some sort of revolutionary group.” These words, said by Fleet Foxes front man Robin Pecknold, pretty much set the tone for the night in Union Hall last Thursday. Just picture it: a headlining group that was nothing short of conversational and a small room (that, according to Robin, was straight out of the last scene of 'There Will Be Blood') packed with around 150 people also eager to chat about everything from Seattle to tote bags to hair product. Well, it might not have been much of a revolutionary group, but it was one of the most personal concert experiences any music lover could ever hope to have.
Their VH1 Storytellers-esque performance aside, Fleet Foxes, who have been hyped as one of the best new groups with one of the best albums of 2008, proved themselves to be worth all the hype by delivering a nearly flawless performance last Thursday. Robin, who has been sick for much of FF’s tour fought through the set almost perfectly, with help from friendly audience members offering get-well wishes. But, other than one mention of—and apology for—his sickness through the tour, Robin rarely showed a sign of any malady at all. His voice proved even more clear and powerful than on the albums, resulting in audible and awe-filled sighs from audience members during Robin’s solo acoustic performance of “Oliver James”. The other band members were also completely on-point. The widely-utilized quartets were breathtaking and even more effective on such a small stage.
The venue as a whole very much did the group justice. Aside from the obvious more personal setting of the venue, the sound was excellent: clear, and balanced, which made it very easy to hear and understand the lyrics, (not often the case at bigger venue shows). It was personal and relaxed, and even more important, Fleet Foxes were absolutely spot-on. Though perhaps hard to believe, I think the guys were better live than on the album, and considering an ill lead singer, barely able to choke back a cough in some of the songs, this is a pretty incredible feat. With hype building about the group—one audience member at one point yelling, “You’re gonna be famous!”—one can only hope that Fleet Foxes will continue to play in such small settings, as it is truly where some of there best talent is hiding.
Sun Giant -> Sun It Rise
Drops in the River
White Winter Hymnal
Crayon Angels (Judee Sill Cover)-> Oliver James (Robin acoustic)
He Doesn’t Know Why
Mykonosà [Missing Song]
Blue Ridge Mountains
Tiger Mountain Peasant Songs (Robin acoustic)
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