"I'm Alive and Well"
Photo by Kyle Dean Reinford
Waking up at 4:30 a.m. occasionally has its advantages. Case in point, yesterday when I awoke to find that the Fleet Foxes announced a second show for this evening at Union Hall. While reports of Robin's health from last night weren't exactly positive, I was optimistic because when I saw them make their NYC debut in March, Robin was also under the weather. (Although that time it seemed to be the fluctuating weather, not the perils of the road.) Regardless, the late show at Union Hall tonight was a special affair. Robin definitely wasn't 100%, but the dude gave his God's honest all and everyone in the room was thankful. Not only were they thankful, but I have to give mad props to Brooklyn, as the audience at the late show was one of the most respectful, utterly entranced audiences I've had the pleasure to have been apart of in along time. (Probably since the last time I saw Fleet Foxes, or Joanna Newsome.)
Not gonna lie, even in a shitty situation the Fleet Foxes sound amazing. Their form is timeless, not some passing neon fad or Hype Machine fueled future top 40 act. "Blue Ridge Mountains", as expected, was an evening highlight, but I think the moment of most utter transcendence came during "Mykonos", where Josh Tillman's percussion lent a dark force to the best song on the Sun Giant EP. I heard someone mention that Tillman takes "Mykonos" to almost religious levels, and I can't do anything but agree.
While the entire band was on extra point tonight (due to Robin Pecknold's illness), it was Pecknold himself who stole the show. No doubt he could've sat the show out, hell if I were him I would've cancelled it, or not even scheduled it. But even under the weather, Pecknold delivered a bold, wholehearted and genuine performance that both enraptured the audience and wrapped them in warm blankets. I only wish I'd given Robin a proper bear hug after the show to prove how much his performance meant to the entire crowd. Like the show in March, he repeatedly thanked the crowd in the most humble, Northwestern way possible. Needless to say, I had to thank him back and I'm pretty sure everyone at Union Hall tonight would've done the same. That said, the band admitted that the early show was, well, shit. And it didn't help that folks in the front row scribbling notes (Tillman joked about his performance receiving a 7.2). Regardless, the Late night crowd was so attentive, I almost forgot I was in a packed room full of awe-struck compadres, which is probably the greatest compliment I could ever give band. I literally lost myself, in place and time, in the Union Hall basement tonight. It was beautiful, in the realest way possible. God bless the Fleet Foxes
Fleet Foxes- White Winter Hymnal
Fleet Foxes "Tiger Mountain Song" Live in London