On May 2nd two of Seattle’s top indie-folk groups, Fleet Foxes and The Cave Singers, rocked the Moore Theater with two vastly different musical approaches.
The Cave Singers brought their brand of slightly psychedelic backwoods blues to the stage, instantly upping the energy in the venue. The raw emotional vocals of Pete Quirk, acoustic guitar work of Derek Fudesco and the shotgun beats of drummer Marty Lund captured the attention of the crowd. As good as they were, this night belonged to Robin Pecknold and Fleet Foxes. Their highly anticipated sophomore album, Helplessness Blues, wouldn’t be released until the next morning so many in the audience heard the new songs for the first time ever at the show.
In their gospel-folk stylings and lush, multi-layered vocal harmonies Fleet Foxes have bottled up the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest and converted it to music form. They mix this sound with hints of their influences, chief among them: Simon and Garfunkel, Gram Parsons and Crosby Stills Nash and Young. Their songs reflect on the past and contemplate the future.
Fleet Foxes – photo by Matthew Lamb
The natural power of their music was evident from the start of the set with the instrumental opener, “The Cascades.” The quality that launches Fleet Foxes above and beyond other bands is their penchant for strong, gospel-flavored vocal harmonies. This was best on display during “Battery Kinzie,” “Lorelei” and “Mykonos.” The chorus of “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” seemed to transcend everything else if only for a moment. It was perfection.
The music was amazing but the downtime between songs seemed to be filled with awkward silence as the crowd waited for guitars to be tuned. Pecknold’s stage persona came across as moderately shy but personable as ridiculous comments were blurted from audience members, including yet another “Freebird” request.
The encore featured Pecknold playing a solo rendition of Joan Baez’s “Silver Dagger.” They closed the night with “Helplessness Blues.” In the title track of the new album Pecknold states “he grew up believing he was somehow unique.” He then voices his frustration over the death of this individuality and the fear of becoming “a functioning cog in some great machinery, serving something beyond me.”
After attending this show I would have to say Pecknold is already a functioning cog in some great machinery serving something beyond himself. The machinery I talk of is Fleet Foxes and boy are they unique.
Review by Chris Senn & photos by Matthew Lamb
Fleet Foxes – photos by Matthew Lamb
The Cave Singers – photos by Matthew Lamb
Fleet Foxes Set List
Drops in the River
Sim Sala Bim
Tiger Mountain Peasant Song
White Winter Hymnal
He Doesn’t Know Why
The Shrine / An Argument
Blue Spotted Tail
Blue Ridge Mountains
Silver Dagger (Joan Baez cover)