Fleet Foxes - Live in San Francisco 6/26
Fleet Foxes - Live in San Francisco - Bottom of the Hill - 6/26/2008
There are certain tactics that a band can implement in concert to differentiate the live experience from listening to the record. On-stage antics are common these days and performing in the crowd seems to be used quite often. Props are rarely interesting, but lighting is definitely a tactic bands use to bring their music to life. Solos are a jam-band favorite and thus, have a stigma, but straying away from the original song, whether through experimental tangents, different lyrics, blending songs, or even new versions, is a tactic that a band can use to captivate an audience in a live setting. Despite all of these tactics, some bands have the ability to captivate an audience just by playing their tunes as they are on record. Although it is rare, some bands can grip you by pulling off live what they pull off on record.
If you haven't heard Fleet Foxes by now, listen. If you haven't seen Fleet Foxes live by now, go. I've been to hundreds of shows in my life - possibly approaching 4 figures. Never in my life has a band sounded as perfect live as Fleet Foxes. With the exception of some hilarious between-song banter, initiated by several audience members, Fleet Foxes played every part, sang every harmony, and pushed every vocal cord to their limits, just as they did on their recently released debut EP and full-length. To see and hear these songs played live on a large sound system was awe-inspiring. There were no lighting effects, no dances, no solos, no props, no pyrotechnics, and no tangents. It was just songs from the Sun Giant EP and Fleet Foxes played perfectly - crystal clear. Although they played some of my favorite songs, such as "Drops in the River" and "Your Protector", the highlight and the song that summed up the entire show was definitely "Oliver James." Lead singer and song-writer, Robin Pecknold, sat alone on a stool holding his acoustic guitar. The other four members of Fleet Foxes left for a break and Robin performed the last track off of Fleet Foxes. It is a simple song, but when he belted the chorus, "Oliver James, lost in the rain, no longer," the crowd stopped. Nobody spoke or sipped their beer. Nobody ordered a drink. Nobody went to the bathroom or smoked a cigarette. The entire crowd was gripped, which was indicative of the entire show.
Thanks to Shantel for the photos.
- Caleb Morairty