Monday, November 03, 2008
Fleet Foxes - Nottingham Trent University 2 November 2008
Fleet Foxes mix Beach Boys and CSNY harmonies and produce their own special folk-inspired narratives to beautiful effect.
After booking for them at Birmingham (Friday 31st Oct*) we then found they would be coming to the more convenient location of Nottingham Trent Uni (Sunday 2 Nov). So, up went the Brum tickets for sale [Hi Adam!] and off we were planning for Nottingham.
Arriving mid-way through J.Tillman's set was a semi-dispiriting experience: though this was no particular fault of the singer. He was fine enough but battled with a hideous amount of audience chattering - I couldn't tell for sure if he was being ironic but he did at one stage thank the audience for being so attentive. Hurrumph: they bloody well weren't from where I was (at the time, the fringes to one side of the stage about 6-10 people back). A real shame because as a side project this was lovely work, but it was overshadowed by the audience's reaction.
Once he'd finished - and he'd even had accompaniment from the rest of the Foxes on a couple of tracks to almost zero interest from the crowd - I made sure I loudly declared my murderous intent should anyone consider spoiling the main act. Yaddering during a support is pretty unforgiveable: during the main act deserves serious action.
We moved forward, planting ourselves on row two near to speakers. I needn't have worried because whether it was down to my location or a genuine attentiveness from the audience, when Fleet Foxes came on, tuned up and began their giddying harmonies, the place fell to silence. It was a wonderful feast of choral beauty.
And boy do these guys rock!
Despite being souped up on cold medicine ("robo-tripping" as in Robutussin children's medicine) they were as tight as on record but with added lustre, knowing this was live. By the time they struck up the tear-inducing White Winter Hymnal it felt like being chorused by angels. And they were happy to engage with the audience too: there was plenty of banter (Meadowlarks got an airing to great acclaim following a request), a good deal of political mutterings, and some giggle-inducing rambling asides (socio-political). That said, we were there for the harmonies and the tunes and we got them in joyous abundance. Robin Pecknold offered up additional covers (Judee Sill for the 'Mojo audience' which mostly met with silence as an audience identifier though the song was lovely) and pretty much burst his cold-afflicted lungs with a heart stopping version of Oliver James. This was a very decent hour and 10 mins set - possibly longer as I wasn't looking at my watch - and given those colds, a heroic achievement.
This track, He Doesn't Know Why, possibly presents their harmonies - and the band - to best effect.
* the pictures pretty awful but to get a flavour of how well they sound live, this from Brum gives a good impression.