Fleet Foxes entrance Middle East

A review of Fleet Foxes at the Middle East Upstairs on July 14

, Staff

While the moon was nearly full in Boston, it wasn’t wolves that ruled the night.

It was five foxes.

Seattle’s Fleet Foxes self-titled 2008 debut is generating a lot of buzz – with comparisons to the Beach Boys, Animal Collective and Band of Horses. The record received a 9.0/10 from keepers of all things hip, pitchforkmedia.com, and the band’s live shows are the stuff of Emerald City legend.&

If the folk quintet’s show last night at the Middle East is any indication of what the band can do, all this hype is very much deserved.

There are certain moments during a performance when the audience knows they are experiencing something special. That moment came early this night.&

Right as the closing notes faded from show opener “Sun Giant”, (off the EP with that same title) the band was showered with a protracted ovation that seemed to fluster lead singer Robin Pecknold. All he could do was nod and wave appreciatively as the crowd noise flared up yet again.

This praise was no fluke. After nearly every song the band experienced applause and whistling that seemed to last longer than most other shows. Pecknold’s humble and charming demeanor only fueled the fire, as he seemingly tried to make eye contact with as many fans as he could and wave and smile after almost every song as if this was the first time he’d been on stage.

This lack of pretension and humble attitude is refreshing from a band receiving so much praise. From “The Simpsons” references to the economy of Argentina, the in between banter made the crowd feel as though they were long time friends of the band. It must be the Seattle air.

The set list featured many of the tracks off of the superb self-titled album. From the upbeat and particularly Beach Boys-y crowd favorite “White Winter Hymnal” to the stripped down beauty of “Oliver James” – which Pecknold played solo – the tracks the band chose were a perfect mix.

While the highest point of the night was probably “Sun Giant,” there were other memorable moments. The sole encore song – “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” – had Pecknold on stage alone, sitting in his chair with an acoustic guitar. Although they didn’t know it at the time, this would be a perfect ending to a stellar show.

It’s far from uncommon to hear hipsters muse after a show about it being “amazing” or “the greatest thing ever.” But for the first time in a while, after hearing phrases like “blown away” and “really impressed”, I can say I wholeheartedly agree.

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