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Fleet Foxes / Beach House, Glasgow ABC2

From new contributor Sans Beard;

Such is the sudden rise to relative fame of Washington State’s Fleet Foxes that tonight’s gig is sold out, much to our surprise. This could be related to airplay on both Radio 2 and 6 Music, and it adds to the sense of excitement; my wife rarely experiences ‘sold out gigs’ as she is forced to trawl Glasgow’s smaller venues to watch various bands I insist she see live.

Beach House is pretty good, and ironically I had heard them on the radio the night before…good old Radio 2 again. They are hard to pigeonhole: the singer reminded me of Grace Slick and that’s no bad thing! She also looked like her, albeit it was hard to tell and I could have simply hoped that she did! They rely on samples which works very well in some songs but not on others. I feel a live drummer and bassist would really help take them to the next level, but it is tough at the bottom to pay people, travel overseas and make any money. Perhaps a more gothic Fiery Furnaces would be apt although my friend said: “They sound f*** all like them mate”. Their set lost impact towards the end as too many songs ended up in drone mode, but without dynamics a live band would provide; but they are interesting, have some good songs and I will be checking them out.

Fleet Foxes arrived and seemed genuinely happy to see the turnout. They started with an impressive dig at the ludicrous ‘crash barrier’ ABC2 has seen fit to put up in front of the stage. ‘Sun Giant’ and ‘Drops of Water’ started us off, both from their recent EP. If anything it sounded more impressive live; the harmonies were perfect, the songs alive and the subtle touches of keyboard and guitar more obvious. Other highlights included ‘White Winter Hymnal’, ‘English House’, ‘He Doesn’t Know Why’ and ‘Tiger Mountain Peasant Song’. All full of sly touches, light and shade and some superb four part harmonies. Another highlight was the facial hair, so beloved of American rural pastoralists. I cast many envious glances at the full beard, elaborate moustaches and enormous sideburns. Why must we make do with sensible haircuts and shaven faces? Pah.

There is a caveat to this love in. My new favourite band (circa this week) could perhaps be slyly known as ‘Crosby, Stills, Nash, Midlake, My Morning Jacket and Young’. They are not, if truth be told, sonic pioneers. Autechre this isn’t….some of the quieter moments on MMJ’s ‘At Dawn’ or ‘Tennessee Fire’ are brought to mind; is that a bad thing? They have influences, don’t we all? They have great songs, great voices, can play and clearly love what they’re doing. I’d also suggest that admiring great bands is better than aiming low and hitting the target.

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9 Responses

  1. I wish I’d been. Bloody work!

  2. Was a good gig: nice review by sans beard, thanks for that……

  3. Visually, I can see why you might compare Beach House to The Fiery Furnaces. I had the same thought when I saw them. Otherwise, I am with your mate on this one!

    I thought that Fleet Foxes were on a whole different level when I saw them play and I recommend the experience highly. However, I am still a bit underconvinced about their recorded material relative to the huge accolades that it has garnered.

    Do not get me wrong, I like the album and (especially the) EP a lot. However, for me, they belong to a clutch of albums that seem to be getting a bit more praise this year than I think that they might have gotten in other years.

  4. nothing to do with this post really , but , has anyone been using ” uncyclopedia” ?

  5. I think the answer is to stop reading reviews…that way you won’t know that everyone thinks the albums are great, so your expectations won’t be so high and you’ll appreciate the albums for how good they really are.

    Fleet Foxes are amazing. And i loved they’re live show. I have a feeling the next time i see them there will be more than the 40 people that were in attendance when i saw them last. Good for them!

  6. Dusty, no – expand!

  7. Greg, awesome band. And I think it is a terrific album to be fair.

  8. ELM, Im not expanding , Im becoming quite trim and buff Ill have you know………. anyway, uncyclopedia, how can I explain it …” onion-like “? that does it justice – just google it and be damned !

  9. Out of interest, where did I say that my opinion was based on misguided expectations due to the reviews of others? Am I not allowed to form my own opinion and find it to be different to those of other people? Can I not question this?

    All I wanted was to think for myself. Conformity is overrated. 😉

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