Concert Review: Fleet Foxes at Stubbs on May 10

(photo by: Sean Pecknold from FF Facebook)

At the humid, post-drizzle Fleet Foxes show, the house was packed with a sold out crowd on Tuesday, May 10 at Stubbs in Austin.  The Cave Singers wrapped up their set almost exactly on their alloted scheduled end time at 8:15.  The strict agendum was posted on nearly every pole clearly stating that the show would be over at 10:30 as to not piss off the condo-Nazi neighbors.  Surprisingly the audience was a little less than tolerable to the grid-locked, sticky comrades as people shoved through to get to their spot they painstakingly waited for.  Besides a few faints, a couple of people being escorted out for either recording the show or smoking weed and the girl behind me saying she orgasmed in her pants numerous times, the show must go on.

Robin Pecknold started by saying, “We are going to play a lot of songs, so here we go.”  Fleet Foxes whirled in with a couple of songs on their newest album Helplessness Blues.  The intro was the instrumental “The Cascades” that then lead into the most intense little ditty “Grown Ocean.”  Lyrics in “Grown Ocean,” ‘In that dream I could hardly contain it. All my life I will wait to attain it.’  The interesting thing about this song is that it actually ended up in my dream last night after the show.  In the dream, I was trying to convert one of my unsuspecting friends into a Fleet Foxes fan by showing them YouTube clips of the band.  A light bulb went off, “Ah ha!” I will show you the “Grown Ocean” video and then you will be convinced.  Pecknold’s constricting beanie was removed after the second song, letting out his charming little head tilt.  ”Drops in the River” was one of the two songs played from the Sun Giant EP.

With each song, the band would switch from bass to mandolin, guitar to bass, or piano to flute.  It was like the pick-up-sticks of musical instruments.  For “Battery Kinzie,” Pecknold switched to a twelve string.  Pecknold then said, “You guys getting electrocuted?”  The vibe was definitely getting electrifying.  The sound in the first few songs had too much bass with not enough treble, but by around “Bedouin Dress,” the sound guy finally switched his knobs in the right direction.  The vocals were sharp and crisp, with perfectly in sync harmonizations.  In the middle of “Sin Sala Bim” the band broke it down.  The drummer was beating away with mallets while another band member played the harmonium.  At the softer moments, when it was just Pecknold singing, “Remember when you had me cut your hair” and modestly strumming his guitar, the audience was in the palm of his hand. The band then played many fan favorites including: “Mykonos”, “Your Protector”, and “White Winter Hymnal.”  Showcasing the talent and variability of Fleet Foxes, “The Shrine / An Argument” stretched Pecknold’s vocals especially in the lyric “No matter what I do.”  The band held back to let Pecknold perform solo and vulnerable performances of “Blue Spotted Tail” and “Silver Dagger.”  The most recognizable and crowd pleasing, the finale “Helplessness Blues.”  Without a doubt, Fleet Foxes is a well-oiled machine.  Each precise element erupts perfectly with one another making their live performance seem effortless.

1. The Cascades *
2. Grown Ocean *
3. Drops In The River %
4. Battery Kinzie *
5. Bedouin Dress *
6. Sin Sala Bim *
7. Mykonas %
8. Your Protector ^
9. Tiger Mountain Peasant Song ^
10. White Winter Hymnal ^
11. Ragged Wood ^
12. Lorelai *
13. Montezuma *
14. He Doesn’t Know Why
15. The Shrine / An Argument *
16. Blue Spotted Tail *
17. Blue Ridge Mountains ^
18. Silver Dagger (Joan Baez Cover)
19. Helplessness Blues *

Sun Giant EP (2008) – %
Fleet Foxes (2008) – ^
Helplessness Blues (2011) – *

Fleet Foxes – The Shrine / An Argument

One Response to “Concert Review: Fleet Foxes at Stubbs on May 10”

  1. chad says:

    Ragged wood was played right after White Winter Hymnal. Just like it is on the album.

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