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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Seattle’s Fleet Foxes a divine experience

    Seattles Fleet Foxes a divine experience

    Forget that this five-piece act came to the desert with mountains of facial hair, sweater-vests and stylish suit coats over button-downs; ignore also their contract with the esteemed Sub Pop Records, their praise from Pitchfork and their resume of other Seattle-based indie rock bands, including Pedro the Lion. Despite their charisma and acclaim, Fleet Foxes are way too humble to be rock stars.

    Solar Culture was packed Monday night with the collective body heat of music enthusiasts from high school age to 50-somethings. The band’s fusion of baroque styles and woodsy harmonies carries a cross-generational appeal, reminiscent of both Simon and Garfunkel and contemporary folk rock.

    The Fleet Foxes began their set with “”Sun It Rises,”” the first song on their self-titled LP. The Beach Boys style four-part acapella intro, joined by strumming guitars, maracas and tambourine, resonated as fully as though it were being played in a church.

    Despite being completely secular, the Fleet Foxes have an almost holy aura about them. They’re like Thoreau. You don’t hear their individual parts; instead they sing as one instrument, each set of vocal chords indistinguishable from the next.

    Throughout the concert, Robin Pecknold’s voice came through clear and stunning as stained glass – due in no small part to the gallery’s warm acoustics – and to cough or move more than a few feet felt like absolute irreverence.

    That’s not to say the band was seeking devotees, or that the front-row dancing wasn’t thoroughly appreciated. In between songs, they checked up on the audience, to whom they affectionately referred as “”ghosts”” (after observing that every place in Tucson is purportedly haunted), offering bottled water to overheated souls.

    If anyone needed hydration, though, it was Pecknold in his floppy-eared wool hat. “”I’d take off my hat,”” he said abashedly, “”but I just got a fairly embarrassing haircut.””

    Fleet Foxes are everything one could want in a band: down-to-earth yet polished, mellow yet soulful. Beneath their sublime choruses is a beautiful sadness to which anyone could relate – and they did.

    Of course, when you’re as attentive as the Fleet Foxes are to their audience, you tend to invite a few idiots who overstep their bounds thinking they’re being charming – interrupting a good story to shout a few un-called for remarks or inane attempts at conversation, for example. Instead of responding with snark or a blunt “”Huh?””, though, the guitarist asked for an especially noisy fellow’s name and thanked him for his presence. It was all very Zen.

    The immediate house lights and background music did not stop fans from cheering for an encore, nor did the band hesitate to indulge them. Pecknold returned to the stage with a solo performance of “”Tiger Mountain Peasant Song.””

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