Fleet Foxes - The Greek Theatre - 9-14-11
Better than... contemplating the stars by yourself.
Last night was one of those rare evenings when it was worth doing battle with rush hour traffic to get to the Greek before 7:30pm. The scarring that came from racing across town was rewarded as soon as Hamilton Leithauser of the Walkmen belted out the first note. If the band were concerned that the venue was only a quarter full when they began, they didn't show it.
In contrast to the muted colors of their attire, the Walkmen's set radiated bright emotional electricity. Like a romantic hero from a Bronte novel, Leithauser had no qualms about exposing his raw feelings in all their unvarnished glory. The rage, the joy, and the hope all travelled down that microphone as the tendons in his neck pulsed with fury, the kind of fury that is traditionally reserved for madmen railing at their invisible demons.
A golden moon rose over the trees by the time Fleet Foxes took the stage. The Greek had filled up with appreciative fans, who hummed anxiously before they took the stage, filling the air with smoke and the smell of fried delights. When the plaid folk rockers took the stage, the crowd erupted with pleasure.
Leslie Kalohi Hamilton Leithauser of the Walkmen
"We get to close the show for the Walkmen," lead singer Robin Pecknold said with a smile before launching into their hour long set. Combining songs from their two albums, Fleet Foxes sought to prove that their success was not just a flash in the pan, but rather the beginning of a legacy.
Behind a screen of stars and mountains, the band put together deeply rich, complex songs with stunning four part harmonies that floated by like your most abstract, beautiful daydreams. Whole universes were created and destroyed within one number. It seemed like everyone on stage played at least five instruments, grabbing whatever was necessary to enhance a solo, be it saxophone, violin, or flute.
It was clear by the end of the night that the act has grown from indie darlings to a professional threat. There is nothing unpolished about this band.
The Crowd: A lot of well-dressed twenty somethings, with a sprinkling of parents who listen to KCRW and the occasional poorly thought out sundress.
Random Notebook Dump: It's not often that the drummer of a theatre-headlining band can walk out the front gates while people are filing in, have a smoke, make a call, and return unmolested. (Hello, J. Tillman. We saw you.)
Set list below.