Fleet Foxes - Tower Threatre (May 21, 2011)
Concert Review: Fleet Foxes
Tower Theatre – Upper Darby, PA
Date: Saturday, May 21, 2011
Review by: Beth Baldino
Photos by: David Simchock / www.DavidSimchock.com
Luckily, May 21st, the now infamously predicted “day the world would end” didn’t turn out as billed. Among many other reasons to be happy about this, it meant I still had the opportunity that evening to enjoy the last scheduled US show for the Fleet Foxes, a band whose refined indie sound is known to produce its own version of “rapture” among the initiated.
Robin Pecknold, the band’s front-man, lead vocalist and guitar player, informed us early on that he was well-hydrated and had eaten plenty of snacks throughout the day, “just in case it took a long time to get to heaven.” Maybe those choices at least served him well for dealing with the crowd that night at The Tower Theatre, as certain members of the audience appeared to have spent too much time at the bar in the lobby pre-show and didn’t know when it was time to bring an end to the call and response, chill out and let everyone enjoy the lovely music without distraction.
Fortunately, Fleet Foxes eclectic folk/pop style, at times reminiscent of sixties icons like Crosby Stills & Nash and Simon & Garfunkel, produces sounds so melodious and gentile, that even all of the crowd’s silliness couldn’t dampen the experience. Hits like “White Winter Hymnal,” “Ragged Wood,” “Grown Ocean,” “Lorelai” and “Sun it Rises,” combined with another 14 numbers from their two CD’s and EP, resulted in a very comprehensive and satisfying show. Their best moments involved their perfectly-balanced vocal harmonies, and Pecknold’s skill in this area really truly shined during his encore version of “Oliver James,” a tune I was still humming to myself several days later. By the time the group wrapped up the show with “Helplessness Blues,” the title track from their most recent album, much of the crowd was on their feet in appreciation.
I love this band, and I believe their quick rise to fame is well deserved. I find their music complex enough to listen to over and over, and there are enough dimensions to the sound to sustain its intrigue. But, I have a feeling their “baroque pop” with classical undertones style might be even better performed in a smaller venue, or I’d like to see them up close and personal at a music festival. While their pitch was right on, the sound in this 3500 seat theatre in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania, was a little distorted to fully appreciate the talent gracing the stage on this not-so-ill-fated evening. Perhaps, without the drunk hecklers, I’ll feel differently next time, but for now the Fleet Foxes are a band I’ll most enjoy laying in a hammock with earphones on. Hmmmm, that sounds like a good idea for right now actually…