August 2, 2017

Fleet Foxes played Prospect Park

On a perfect summer evening, Fleet Foxes came back to Brooklyn to serenade Prospect Park in promotion of their third full-length, Crack-Up.

The past six years have been rather interesting for Fleet Foxes' frontman Robin Pecknold. After releasing two instant-classic records, he tuned out and dropped into college and stepped out of the spotlight. Now he has reassembled the band, released a wonderful new record, and hit the road for their first U.S. tour in over five years. In what would turn out to be a marathon set, the band's warm, golden embrace reached out over the crowd and wrapped the evening in pure bliss. Just as the sun was setting, the band took the stage to a prolonged horn intro of Crack-Up's complex lead off track. Off the bat, the sound was a tad muddled and the dense nature of the songs made them feel relatively flat. The situation didn't last long however and as the band played "Grown Ocean," the tides began to turn in their favor. For the rest of the evening, the band did a splendid job of weaving their newest material amongst all of their classic work. Their stage set-up was rather simple, the standard lights and some interesting backdrops, but nothing over the top or spectacular which really allowed for their songwriting craftsmanship to take center stage. Aside from the wondrous harmonies, lush string arrangements, and perfectly balanced electric and acoustic guitar, it's truly Pecknold's lyrics that make Fleet Foxes tracks so special. The vivid imagery and stunning ability to capture a moment or feeling with words is an unmatched talent in today's psych-folk universe. This became ever apparent when Robin took the stage alone for a remarkable "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song" and recent number "If You Need To, Keep Time on Me," both of which served as the emotional peak of the night. From there, the hits kept coming and the band firmly reinstated just how powerful and enchanting their songs can be, especially on an amazing August night. After spending such a significant amount of time out of the limelight, Fleet Foxes still have the power to captivate and inspire a crowd. While they may not achieve the same vocal range as their past, they sound more worn in and fitted; broken in to show true passion and dedication. From the beginning, the band has had such a mature structure and tone and while none of that has changed, they've still managed to age gracefully. Their ambitious new work is both a wonderful new direction for the band and an unexpected twist in their journey, but when interjected amongst their discography, it was a welcome addition to the catalogue.

Set list:

01 "I Am All That I Need / Arroyo Seco / Thumbprint Scar"
02 "Cassius, -"
03 "- Naiads, Cassadies"
04 "Grown Ocean"
05 "Ragged Wood"
06 "Your Protector"
07 "The Cascades"
08 "Mearcstapa"
09 "On Another Ocean (January / June)"
10 "Fool's Errand"
11 "He Doesn't Know Why"
12 "Battery Kinzie"
13 "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song"
14 "If You Need To, Keep Time on Me"
15 "Mykonos"
16 "White Winter Hymnal"
17 "Third of May / Ōdaigahara"
18 "The Shrine / An Argument"
19 "Blue Ridge Mountains"
20 "Helplessness Blues"
21 "Oliver James"
22 "Crack-Up"

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