Until this year, indie-rock band Fleet Foxes adopted the elusiveness of actual foxes. It had been six years since the six-piece Seattle outfit came out with an album before the June release of Crack-Up, and the band’s August 13 show at The Chelsea marked the first time the group ever played (and the first time lead singer Robin Pecknold ever visited) Las Vegas.
That’s partly due to the departure of drummer Josh Tillman (a.k.a. Father John Misty) in 2012 and Pecknold attending school at New York City’s Columbia University. But it also might be because Fleet Foxes’ soothing hymn-like songs, acoustic guitars and harmonizing oooooohs feel out of place juxtaposed with the parties usually happening nearby on a casino floor. The dynamic band incorporated flutes, an upright bass, horns, and a piano (among other instruments), and although there were a few awkward finishes and transitions between the heavenly folk tunes, each song was beautifully captivating.
The star of Fleet Foxes’ live show is Pecknold’s warm and full vocals (and the occasional gravelly yell) that somehow manage to sound like multiple vocalists in unison. Some of the most moving moments of the night were when he sang alone with his guitar, including “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song” and later, “Oliver James,” during the encore. If Pecknold ever decides to take a long hiatus from Fleet Foxes again, he should consider side-gigging as a phone-sex operator with the ever-so-strokable tone of his velvet voice.
Photos by Erik Kabik