Fleet Foxes – Wolverhampton

This was the second time of seeing the Foxes on what feels like their never ending touring of their eponymous album. First off in Bristol and this time in Wolverhampton. The main differences being that in Bristol all I could see was an exotically hatted hippy type in front of me, and this time we had a pretty ace view right up front behind a mercifully short Chinese bunch, and secondly that Wolverhampton was one of the hottest gigs I have been to for an age. Sweltering.

Support was from The Clientele. I have a sneaking suspicion that one of their albums was on one of my wish lists – you know the ones that somehow you never quite end up getting. I just didn’t feel that they quite took off on the night, maybe on occasions just a little too downbeat and gentle, didn’t quite connect with the crowd. A couple of songs flew a little but overall I felt that this wasn’t really their night. I imagine that they would repay a little closer attention on their own not the rather tough gig of supporting someone like Fleet Foxes

The Foxes have been taking their rather wonderful sound around all over the place for a good twelve months on what must be an exhausting round of tours and festivals. It must be hard to try and keep the material sounding fresh of you play it every night, and of course its easy to forget they only have and EP and one album to their names; excellent though the are.

This was a pre-Glasto gig and they seemed relaxed and on good form, as ever taking good time to get the tunings right, no undue haste, and a good smattering of backchat between stuff. Given their recent success they still come across as being slightly surprised by it all and a little bashful – all very endearing. They played just about all their tracks all met with rapturous applause and a small whistling competition form some of the crowds off to one side. There was the running joke about cries of ‘Where’s Stephen’, answer, ‘He’s coming’ which Mr Pecknold obviously views as some ancient and arcane British tradition

Amid the familiar were a few new tracks, all sounded great, especially the solo offering from Pecknold that sounded like an old time tune (maybe it was, who knows). Despite claiming to be a little hoarse he was in fine voice, as were the rest of the band , all of whom have very effective pipes, not least Josh Tillman on drums. The harmonies were all spot on and beautiful.

After returning for encores, initially solo from Mr Pecknold, during the break as the band set up for the final encore, Blue ridge Mountains, a personal favourite, a cry went up that Michael Jackson had died. A surreal moment that no-one quite believed until others confirmed. Not quite a President Kennedy, Princess Diana or Elvis moment, although some will think otherwise, it will mark out this show in my list of gigs. A sad and tragic loss although probably foretold in the stars and destiny, he was never going to be an old guy now was he?

A roaring good gig from a top notch band with humanity and an understated gratitude. I note that after the gigs between now and September there will be no more until the new album is finished, lets hope its not too long – although methinks they deserve a rest from the road for a bit

The Clientele web site

The Clientele Myspace

Fleet Foxes Myspace

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