Fleet Foxes are a household name for any indie kid. They’ve been talked about on Portlandia, been speculated about by all the most hip music critics, and are revered by the pickiest music fans. They’re so loved for a good reason- they’re amazing at what they do. After returning from a hiatus and announcing a new album, their two night run at St. Paul’s Palace Theatre was highly anticipated. It was announced in April and immediately sold out. A second show was added and that sold out quickly, too. Ever since then, I’ve been counting down the days until I could hear them perform some of the songs that formed my taste in music today.
Pulling up to the Palace Theatre, in all of its beauty, I was pleasantly surprised that the line wasn’t too long. I waited at the box office window for less than ten minutes and was in. The crowd was a classier one than I’m used to coming across at a Saturday night show. People dressed like they were going to see their extended family in dresses and cardigans, holding wine and beers that *actually* tasted good as they shopped the merch table.
Nap Eyes was up first, a Canadian indie rock foursome. I hadn’t heard them before, but expected nothing less than great from someone who was chosen to open for Fleet Foxes… and they didn’t disappoint. They were polite and engaged with the crowd, full of friendly banter and, of course, great music. They played a quick set but I’d be willing to bet that they made hundreds of new fans during that time.
When the clock struck 9:30 Fleet Foxes entered the stage, as promised. They were strewn across the stage in a line, their shadows projected behind them among big geometric shapes that adorned the stage. The lighting was intricate and impressive but not distracting. No one, including me, could focus on much of anything except the music that was being played in front of them.
The set list consisted heavily of songs from their newest, highly anticipated, album “Cracked Up.” To no surprise, the crowd was able to sing along to nearly every song, even the newer ones. The crowd, although respectful and clearly very excited about what was happening, was full of cell phones being held up to take pictures. I readied my phone but immediately stopped when they began to play one of my favorite songs, “Blue Spotted Tail.” Other crowd favorited were “White Winter” and “Grown Ocean.”
During the show I stopped to look around at the people around me. I could see every type of person just standing within my view. There were many young couples shimmying along, solo attendees making friends with those around them, and a surprising number of parent/child duos. Fleet Foxes has been bringing me together with people I may not have otherwise met since I can remember.
It had been years since anyone had been able to see Fleet Foxes perform, and they were well worth the wait. Everyone left content, but clearly ready for round two the next day. If you weren’t one of the lucky ones seeing Fleet Foxes this weekend I’m St. Paul, download their new album and keep them on your radar for the next time they come through town.