Last night the Fleet Foxes played at the Somerville Theater. A lovely venue that perfectly matched the lovely harmonies of the band. According to Robin Pecknold (can I say the leading singer/man?) that was the first time they played a sit-down venue, last time they played the Middle East; well, the Somerville is quite a departure from that, and I am glad that they were able to sell out the venue.
The sounds of Fleet Foxes are pure, in a sense that you can always distinguish the guitars, the keyboards, the different voices leading to majestic harmonies. They could have been around in the 60s and they always list their sonic influences. “We grew up listening to the music of our parents,” says Fleet Foxes frontman Robin Pecknold. “Every perennial ’60s band you’d expect to find in the record collections of baby boomers.” Somehow they managed to transcend the music to a different level, to sound contemporary and traditional at the same time. I find some songs tinged with medieval sounds. The songs tend to mellow, but in the end burst in the air with hope. I was skeptical about the theatre’s acoustics, but have to admit the band sounded awesome.
Sometimes you go and see an up and coming band, and apart from the music you also get the attitude of the leading man, a kid trying to live up to the rock-star image, the self-centered boozing lad with dreams of endless lines of groupies. So it was quite refreshing to see a humble, down to earth Robin Pecknold, trying the small talk between songs and gulps of water. It was refreshing to see his shy smile after the applause, acknowledging that yes, he thought he did a good job too. When a girl shouted “you are beautiful” the first gesture was a nervous straightening of the hair followed by a shy smile. Maybe the attitude should not matter, we were there for the music, but it felt cozy and sweet, like you had a band playing in your living room. And Pecknold did turn the theatre into his living room with an unplugged song. His voice filled the theatre and I was happy to experience the majesty of the music and the modesty of their attitude.