Fleet Foxes and The Walkmen: Concert Review
So, Fleet Foxes really blew up. And there was no shortage of evidence last night at the Cleveland Masonic and Performing Arts Center. Although the venue typically hosts meetings and special dinner events, occasionally there will be a musical event such as last night. Of course the event was hosted by the Grog Shop which means the Grog Shop crew was there to sell you beer and guide you to park your car, which was an adventure. It was nice to see some familiar faces at a not so familiar venue. But the venue was beautiful.
Upon entering, you climbed three flights of white marble stairs to a floor that led to the floor and Mezzanine seats. My friend and I had seats in row K of the Mezzanine. Although these weren’t the best seats in the house, they certainly weren’t the worst. And it was apparent that the show was pretty close to sold out, if not sold out by the end of the night.
Finding your seat proved a difficult task for some, but luckily people in the crowd were very helpful because it was dark and the show was about to start right when we got there. The Walkmen opened up the show shortly after 8, and the crowd was alive. Speaking of the crowd, it was really great to see people of all ages at this show. Prior to this show, I had only heard a few songs off their latest album, Lisbon. But there was one thing I noticed right away: Hamilton Leithauser had a unique voice. At times, it reminded me of Johnny Cash and at other times ,it reminded me of the early 60s Doo-wop days.
The five-piece band incorporated the organ, which definitely added to the vintage feel. I know the band played quite a few off that album, Lisbon, including “Angela Surf City” and “Blue As Your Blood.” I’m sure there were more for all you crazed Walkmen fans, but like I said, I’m a new fan! They played for about an hour before exiting with no encore. I was surprised.
There was a small intermission before Fleet Foxes coyly made their way to stage around 9:15. The six-piece band played more instruments live than any band I’ve ever seen, just to get that out of the way. Another thing I’d like to get out of the way, holy cow, they sounded flawless. Fleet Foxes’ music live is like a lullaby you never want to fall asleep to. No matter how hard you try to fight it, you’re left jaw dropped and mesmerized. Not only were their instruments perfectly in sync, but their harmonies never missed a note, and if they did, no one would notice because they’re freakin’ Fleet Foxes. Their vocals, I would bet, is half the reason those people were there last night.
Many people yelled their favorite songs from the crowd, but Fleet Foxes was pretty much all business, aside from a few thank yous and a comment about an audience member dancing in the top row. An interesting tidbit of info: Fleet Foxes multi-instrumentalist, Morgan Henderson, was the bassist in the post-hardcore band, The Blood Brothers. I am a fan of the Blood Brothers, and I have to say I was surprised by this. Any who, he wailed on the stand-up bass, shook the tambourines, blew the saxophone and hell, played some guitar while he was at it.
The guys played most of their recent album, Helplessness Blues including “Battery Kinzie” and “Montezuma.” But they also played a hefty bunch of songs off their 2008 self titled album, including “White Winter Hymnal,” “Your Protector” “Mykonos,” and “He Doesn’t Know Why.” They mesmerized the audience until 11, including a 4-song encore after a standing ovation. That encore included a song I heard many people screaming all night, “Blue Ridge Mountains.” The show was everything I expected and more. I don’t think I was prepared to enjoy both bands so much that I listened to their albums on the drive home.
Check out this live recording of “Blue Ridge Mountains”: