Caught Live: Fleet Foxes
Fleet Foxes aren’t for belting along to no matter how badly tonight’s crowd - the second London sell out in a week - may want a Killers-esque sing song. ‘Drops in the River’ goes ok but then Robin Pecknold has to go and sing waaay to high and loses everyone. ‘White Winter Hymnal’ seems a good’n until four different harmonies come in and ruin the audience’s concentration. As for ‘Quiet Houses’, well for the sake of the tone deaf gentleman next to me, we won’t even go there. The penny drops about 40 minutes in that it’s impossible to stay anywhere near in tune with the band of 2008 and the rest of the night is granted relative silence. It seems there’s a good reason 50,000 people sing every note at an Oasis show.
It is remarkable though how a band with such precious a sound can illicit this kind of reaction, never mind share tube station advertising space next to Ray Quinn in the Grease musical (as we spot on our way in) and within a week can sell out two 2,500-capacity nights at Camden’s Roundhouse. But then Fleet Foxes are a remarkable band. And while tonight’s venue can’t quite do those harmonies justice and the band may not be in as spine-tinglingly special form as they were on their last visit to the capital, it’s still a delight to watch a band bound to be one of the foremost of our generation deal with their trajectory so effortlessly.
From the awing unaccompanied opening of ‘Sun Giant’ to the slightly-ruined-by-feedback/ nevertheless-phenomenal-set-closer of ‘Blue Ridge Mountain’, there are almost too many individual high points to remember and that’s without even counting the amazingly annoying girl by the bar getting a pint thrown at her for not shutting up. There’s a rousing rendition of ‘Mykanos’. A stirring run through ‘Ragged Wood’. An instructive look at Judee Sill's delicate ‘Crayon Angers’. An extraordinary solo version of ‘Oliver James’, performed without amplification. It’s all proof, and confirmation wasn’t even needed, of just how good this band really are.