Matson on Music
Concert review: Fleet Foxes at the Paramount 09/06/11
Posted by Andrew Matson
Following a standing ovation Tuesday night at the Paramount, Fleet Foxes frontman Robin Pecknold returned to the stage with acoustic guitar in hand and debuted a new song — something special for the hometown audience.
"Part of this song takes place at the Paradox, and part of it takes place at the Old Fire House," said the bearded 25-year-old musician, namechecking local, all-ages music venues.
"After the band had played / you kissed my cheek [...] outside the show / in the dirt-colored snow," he sang, his honeyed voice in fine form, as it had been all night.
The untitled song not only showed off his singing voice, but his deep Seattle roots and his talent on guitar. Each finger-picked chord built anticipation for the next one, and bass notes hung heavy in the air, as if a second guitarist were accompanying.
Fleet Foxes always performs well, but Tuesday's Paramount set (the first of two, with tickets still available, as of this blogging) was close to flawless, drawing heavily from the group's smash album, "Helpessness Blues." Extra bass from Casey Wescott's organ in the fast-strumming title track was a bonus — the rumble felt like it was coming from the walls. Album high-point "The Shrine / An Argument" was more stunning than usual, Pecknold narrowing his voice into a high-pitched, powerful laser. "Sim Sala Bim" rocked harder than at previous Seattle concerts, the band vigorously hammering home the central riff.
Between songs, Pecknold told short, funny stories in his deadpan voice. He said when he used to work up the street at Bimbo's Bitchin' Burrito Kitchen on Capitol Hill, there'd always be a rush after a Paramount concert let out — and he imagined a burrito chef would curse the Fleet Foxes later that evening.
He noticed the farthest rows of the Paramount were empty and said he remembered when he sat back there, watching The Strokes. After that show, he went outside and tried to meet the band.
It was easy to imagine people in the audience might do the same thing after the Foxes finished, trying to get Pecknold's autograph.
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