Review and photos – Fleet Foxes at the Vogue Theatre, Vancouver, April 29 2011
– review by Rebecca Apostoli/photos by Ashley Tanasiychuk
Friday evening, Fleet Foxes launched their latest tour in Vancouver with a sold-out show at the Vogue Theatre. The Seattle-based neo-folk sextet is touring in support of their 2011 Sub Pop release Helplessness Blues.
Formed in early 2007, the band has seen its popularity grow since the release of their self-titled 2008 debut EP. Rave reviews in the music press have helped, but so has the enthusiasm of music fans with access to online filesharing technologies and social media. While blowing up in the blogosphere does not always translate into financial success or mainstream popularity, Fleet Foxes are now headlining theatres, with much promise for a completely sold-old tour.
With their ’60s pop-folk sound, the group not surprisingly attracted a fair share of elder attendees, to whom this young act might seem like a throwback to Jefferson Airplane, Simon and Garfunkel, Peter, Paul and Mary and Joni Mitchell. In some ways they are, but calling Fleet Foxes a straight-up revival band shortchanges the distinctly modern aspects of their post-folk sound. The indie-folk and -rock influences of acts like Elliot Smith and Animal Collective are incorporated within a framework of delicately crafted melodies, impeccable harmonies, open tunings, richly textured percussion and mysteriously poetic and sometimes vaguely obtuse lyrics.
The band’s low-key stage presence bordered on shoe-gazey at times, but the audience didn’t seem to mind – they provided enough energy and enthusiasm to compensate for the minimally talkative Foxes. While songs like “Mykonos” and “White Winter Hymnal” lulled like a sweet folk lullaby, other tracks like “Helplessness Blues” point to some subliminal dance-pop influences and definitely got the audience moving.
Though a little sleepy at times, Fleet Foxes at a seated theatre on a Friday night was, overall, an enjoyable concert experience. The band pleased the Vancouver audience and lived up to much of the internet hype surrounding their current tour.