Thursday, May 26, 2011

Not to Rub It In, but ... I Was There.

Last Thursday, the Fleet Foxes put on a show at the United Palace Theater.
and I was there. Were you?

Fleet Foxes, 5/19/2011
Photo by David Pierce

Well... maybe. How am I supposed to know?
Surely you were there at least in spirit.

A band I'd never heard of, The Cave Singers, opened.
They were three -- a long-haired, faceless giant with wicked guitar skills; the lead singer with gravelly voice and glow-in-the-dark trucker hat; and a clutch drummer. The lead, named Pete Quirk apparently (great name!), could also play harmonica and melodica. And he also had a great shuffling, skip-fidget dance thing going for him.
From just the one listen, I don't yet have all their lyrics memorized, but I admit that at the time I chair-danced a fair bit to their rollicking grooves and steady beat.
It was a good way to start.
Then, there was intermission, with beer, out of coolers -- greatest idea ever!
Fleet Foxes, 5/19/2011
Photo by David Pierce
 And then the Fleet Foxes came on out.
They started out lean, the bass a little loud, with few words spoken and much music played.
But they settled out, the bassist (Morgan Henderson) better integrated -- it turned out he plays like fifty instruments (or, five: bass, bass guitar, flute, sax, tambourine, at least) -- and lead singer Robin Pecknold spoke his first few words (besides an opening "Hi. How are you doing?"). He chuckled, "Somebody's feeling kinda nervous."
And then things really started to come into sync. The Fleet Foxes we all know and love came into their element. And the scenery helped here: United Palace Theater's intimate setting -- it used to be an early cinema and then since 1969 has been a church -- is well-decorated with super-fancy, eclectic architecture. And the acoustics were perfect. The sound of their drums, finger-picking, pianos, and singing filled the room and filled our souls with something that can only be described as ethereal, celestial, sacred. It was a sound that is rooted, that comes from deep within. It evoked something of the Moody Blues or of Simon and Garfunkel, with the specificity of their lyrics and the way their voices harmonized, but then something of it sounded more organic ... But then maybe that was just their hipster sense of style and long hair.

There were a few notes off-pitch a little, I noticed. Not that that exactly matters, but it shows how profound are their harmonies, right? I mean, if I (who am hardly a master of music) could hear when they weren’t quite on, then it must mean that they are normally nothing less than perfect. Ironically, these small mistakes gave Fleet Foxes' otherwise immaculate music the raw, unperfected edge that Robin Pecknold was originally planning to put into the sophomore album. In an interview with Guardian magazine, Pecknold 'd said, "I want there to be not totally flawless vocals" but later gave into his studio perfectionism and changed his mind. Anyways, I don't really remember the rest: The music was amazing, and I was in ecstasy.

Now, granted, maybe I make too much of their music. Maybe the music isn't really that great or maybe they don’t really throw as great a concert as I think ... Maybe it was just the venue and maybe my blind adoration … Maybe --- but there’s no denying, the music moved something in me, realigned, kept me whole. Okay, so maybe I'm exaggerating.

But close your eyes, lean back in your chair, (you know, get comfy), and listen to this song. And then try to tell me it doesn't make you smile.

aksreview - Fleet Foxes - Lorelai by alecksander-torrez

Point is: A concert's an experience that can't really be accurately summed up. But listening to Fleet Foxes, no matter where you are, the effect doesn't change: It's divine.


1 comment:

  1. I couldn't agree more - that concert was amazing! I'll pay for any concert you make me go to from now on. Nice review, dude.