Wednesday, May 4, 2011

[review] Fleet Foxes @ Moore Theater (5-3-2011)

Fleet Foxes drop album / wow Seattle

The last time I had seen Fleet Foxes live was back in 2008 when they made their first ever appearance as a headliner at the Moore Theater. At the time, I remember the band was seemingly surprised yet humbled to have filled all the seats in the house. It was almost like they still hadn't bought into their fame, yet. The band even joked about this issue, saying that they'll probably have to play the Moore lobby next year. They couldn't have been more wrong.

After a near-two year hiatus, the Fleet Foxes have emerged from their den with an amazing follow-up to their '08 self-titled LP. According to P4K, their new album Helplessness Blues is rated at a very impressive 8.8 (vs. Fleet Foxes' 9.0). I only mention this because it becomes relevant later in this review. To celebrate the May 3 release of their sophomore record, Fleet Foxes treated Seattle with their very own home show/record release party at the Moore Theater. Unfortunately to some, the concert sold out in mere minutes, which prompted the band to host a second show on the preceding night.

Luckily, I was able to snag tickets for last night's show, and experienced one of the best concerts I've witnessed in my time here in Seattle. Best show? Well for that, you have to have the right ingredients, and for starters, you'd have to make sure the opener is equally loved and adored by Seattleites. The solution? Put The Cave Singers on the bill as stage support. As expected, the night got kicked off right with a 45-minute set from The Cave Singers. They played a lot off their new LP No Witch, and of course the classics like "At the Cut," "Shrine," "Leap," and "Dancing On Our Graves." The Cave Singers sounded as good as ever, and were able to get the home crowd fired up for the main event.

After a quick set change, Fleet Foxes entered the stage with a surprisingly new-found swagger. Something seemed different - maybe it was confidence - but I couldn't help by notice how reinvigorated they appeared. After introductions and quick romp through "The Cascades" and "Grown Oceans," we learned that May 3 not only marked the release of Helplessness Blues, but it also happened to be drummer Josh Tillman's and guitarist Skye Skjelset's birthdays. Last night's rowdy crowd promptly sang "Happy Birthday" upon learning this fun fact. Later in the night, a more formal celebration was performed when cupcakes & candles were brought on stage for the two bandmates, and again, "Happy Birthday" was sung by the 1500 fans in attendance.

As stated, the crowd was really into the show, and the band's in-between-song banter was quality comedy. A memorable moment came when some ass from the crowd yelled "Hey! Pitchfork called and said they want to suck your dick!" Tillman quickly quipped, "They can do that over the phone?" and lead singer Robin Pecknold added his two cents by stating "no, they actually dinged us 0.2 points... it's more like a hand job." The crowd began to snicker, but bassist Christian Wargo was sharp to remind Pecknold of their mothers' presence in the audience, which caused only an eruption of more laughter.

Fleet Foxes sounded simply amazing throughout the night, somehow being more impressive live than on record. Harmonies were in perfect pitch, and the addition of "flutist/bassist/violinist" Morgan Henderson (of Blood Brothers and Past Lives) added all the needed subtleties for the multi-textured FF sound. The band blasted through all the best tracks as if creating their very own live "greatest hits" compilation. Fleet Foxes nearly hit the 2-hour mark and ended the night with an encore performance of their new album's title track. A full set list is posted below, but highlights included older tracks like "Mykonos," "Ragged Wood," "White Winter Hymnal," and my favorite, "Blue Ridge Mountains," as well as the new tunes "Grown Ocean," Montezuma," "The Shrine / An Argument," and "Helplessness Blues."

It was hands-down one of the best shows I've ever seen in Seattle - truly majestic.

Set list: Fleet Foxes @ Moore Theater (5-3-2011)
01 :: The Cascades
02 :: Grown Ocean
03 :: Drops In The River
04 :: Battery Kinzie
05 :: Bedouin Dress
06 :: Sim Sala Bim
07 :: Mykonos
08 :: Your Protector
09 :: Tiger Mountain Peasant Song
10 :: White Winter Hymnal
11 :: Ragged Wood
12 :: Lorelai
13 :: Silver Dagger (Joan Baez cover)
14 :: Montezuma
15 :: He Doesn't Know Why
16 :: The Shrine /An Argument
17 :: Blue Spotted Tail
18 :: Blue Ridge Mountains
19 :: Helplessness Blues

BUY :: Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues (for only $3.99! $7.99)
While Fleet Foxes have no beef with file sharing, just buy it - it's 8 bucks.


Ricky said...

seeing these guys in London on June 1. to say i'm looking forward to it would be something of an understatement :)

Jon Humston said...

I can only hope someday to see them! Im sure it was a magical experience. Thanks for posting the review!

Mark said...

I was at this show; it was incredible, as usual with the foxes. I thought it was funny when that guy made the comment about pitchfork! Seattlites are usually way too sedate and PC to do that, and are justifiably in awe of Fleet Foxes. In fact, there was no crowd banter at all, except for that one comment. That wasn't the case with their prior show 2 years ago; there was a lot more crowd interaction which led the band to make jokes, and creat a more laid back atmosphere. They are a funny bunch of dudes.