Review and Photos – Fleet Foxes at the Malkin Bowl, Vancouver, Sept 13 2017
– review by Taisuke Tanimura, photos by Kirk Chantraine
Its been three months since Fleet Foxes rose from the ashes after a six year hiatus. Following the release of Helplessness Blues the group splintered as members pursued solo projects, or, in the case of lead singer Robin Pecknold, went to college. You can hear the influence of Pecknold’s immersion in academia in their new album Crack Up. Its a much artier offering of dense, complex music with much to unpack, both musically and lyrically. Not only are the tracks thickly layered with instrumentation, many of them are suites containing multiple parts. Its a testament to the group that they can pull off such an ambitious album without seeming pretentious at all.
Their performance at the Malkin Bowl on Wednesday night focused mostly on this new material. They came on-stage to a recording of some orchestral horns, and launched into their set with “I Am All That I Need / Arroyo Seco / Thumbprint Scar”, the three part opus that opens Crack Up. The level of musicianship was impeccable and a treat to watch – swapping out instruments during songs were a common sight. Multi-instrumentalist Morgan Henderson was especially busy, cycling through dizzying array of instruments that included maracas, flute, cello and guitar. Their signature harmonies were as gorgeous as ever and contrasted really well with the more muscular elements. Overall the opaqueness of the newer material made it a little hard to connect with the music, but I sensed that the band was relaxed and having fun. It was cool to see a inspired group evolving into something new, and I’m excited to see what comes next from them.
Nashville based Natalie Prass opened for Fleet Foxes. She and her band played a great set of tunes that were perfect for the end of a bright sunny afternoon. Her funky, playful songs have the same sort of maximalist bent as the new Fleet Foxes, but with a way sunnier spin.
More Fleet Foxes at the Malkin Bowl photos: