From the vault: Fleet Foxes at the Moore in 2008

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Fleet Foxes are poised to have a pretty big year with the release of the excellent Helplessness Blues, which hit stores today. The album is getting loads of glowing reviews and the band is going on a tour that’s taking them around the world to support the album. That tour is currently in the band’s hometown where they performed a sold-out show at the Moore Theatre last night and will do the same again tonight.

To mark the occasion of Helplessness Blues, a record that will likely launch the band into a new level of neo-folk stardom, I wanted to share a review I wrote of the band’s first concert at the Moore Theatre, and no I’m not talking about last night’s show. Fleet Foxes’ first concert at the Moore was on October 18, 2008 and I wrote the below for the Seattle P-I. Look for a review of tonight’s Moore Theatre show on Guerrilla Candy soon.

Death Cab for Cutie, take notice. There’s a new Northwest buzz band in town: Fleet Foxes.

With only one full-length album to their name, in about a year the Sub Pop band has grown from being one of Seattle’s fastest-rising bands to selling out theaters nationwide. On Sunday, the band showcased its skills while captivating an adoring sold-out crowd at the Moore Theatre.

Led by singer Robin Pecknold, Fleet Foxes specialize in songs that showcase amazing four-part harmonies. The group’s 75-minute set covered most every song in its catalog, from the beautiful “White Winter Hymnal” to the show’s closing number, “Blue Ridge Mountains,” as well as a cover and one new song.

They charmed fans with jokes about facial hair (all but one member is bearded) and gained extra points for being extremely appreciative and endearing (band members invited several of their former grade school teachers to the show). They even thanked most everyone on their touring crew, right down to their merch girl.

Aside from the jokes and harmonies, Pecknold’s voice is the band’s secret weapon. When it’s fully unleashed it’s an unexpected knockout punch to anyone who is on the fence about Fleet Foxes’ Northwest blend of The Beach Boys and Crosby, Stills & Nash. It’s impossible to not be won over after witnessing Pecknold perform four solo songs during the band’s set.

The songs were the night’s biggest highlight. During the encore, Pecknold stepped away from the microphone and played his acoustic guitar solo while singing the traditional folk song “Katie Cruel.” The acoustics of the century-old theater worked in his favor as Pecknold’s voice soared effortlessly through the venue like it was a leaf floating through the sky with the aid of a brisk autumn breeze. It was a spectacular, jaw-dropping moment.

While the theater was packed to capacity, it felt as if Fleet Foxes were singing to each person in the audience individually. Creating that feeling of intimacy is an impressive feat for such a young band to pull off and it gave the show a distinct atmosphere. It helped make the night feel like something special was happening, and it was; Fleet Foxes were showing they’ve made the leap from playing clubs to theaters, and are on their way to perhaps becoming big enough to pack stadiums.


Travis Hay

About Travis Hay

Travis Hay is a professional music journalist who has spent the past 14 years documenting and enjoying Seattle's diverse music scene. In 2009 he established Guerrilla Candy and is currently the site's editor and publisher. He has written for various media outlets including MSN Music, the Seattle-Post Intelligencer, Seattle Weekly, and others and was the founder and editor of defunct music site Ear Candy.