Jan 4, 2009

Fleet Foxes/The Dodos @ Metro Theatre

I don't love the music of Fleet Foxes. It loves me. Please let me explain. Their music doesn't demand your attention, it creeps under your skin. Somehow it manages it nestle its way into your heart, increasing its beauty with every listen. Every listen revealing another secret that you didn't know existed. Every listen revealing another layer. To the point where their songs become part of your life, part of your being. Part of you. No wonder their debut album is so well loved. So, their first visit to Australia was met with great expectations. I am happy to say that those expectations were blown apart with consummate ease. Put simply, Fleet Foxes were nothing short of amazing in Sydney on Saturday night. On the third day of 2009, I will be amazed if I see a better show this year. Yeah, it was that good.

The bearded fellows from Seattle opened with "Sun Giant" from the EP of the same name. The band was there but it was basically Robin singing alone, his pure voice piercing the night air. At this instant you knew magic was in the air. The avalanche of harmonies continued, with "English House" and "White Winter Hymnal" proving gorgeous. At this point we were enjoying a great night. But soon the night went from great to extraordinary. "Ragged Wood" was a sledgehammer. A cascade of melody and incredible beauty. Smiles were breaking out everywhere, throats were bellowing. It was bliss. Bliss then turned into amazement as the startling "Your Protector" enveloped us. I love this song and it was my highlight of the night. The quiet opening entranced us before the song burst into life halfway through. "You run with the devil" is now ensconced in my head. So, could it get better, you ask? Yes, it did. Robin Pecknold was left alone on stage, with his acoustic, and he played a cover. "Crayon Angels". So tender, so delicate. The only sound to be heard was that of hearts breaking. If somehow they weren't at this point, then Robin's version of "Oliver James" would complete the job. Sublime stuff.

If we needed any more evidence of how great the night was then a rousing version of "He Doesn't Why" sealed the deal. Confirmed the brilliance of the night. Completely. This is a band whose sum is greater then their parts. They combine so well together. Each section of music fitting in well with the next. I honestly don't remember any moment of individual musical brilliance, any particular drum roll or guitar part. I think all the music goes to support one thing. The melody and astounding harmonies. Those voices of gold, four men combining their vocals to create a special kind of magic. Truly, a great example of the power of voice. And one voice stood even above this. That of Robin Pecknold. His range is quite incredible. Soaring to heights of sheer beauty. This was laid down with full effect in the encore. Robin unplugged his guitar and stood at the front of the stage and gave us the traditional song "Katie Cruel". Truly, a gift to the audience. To top it off, he then also gave us "Tiger Mountain Song", before the band returned, with The Dodos, for a great send off in "Blue Ridge Mountains". The crowd bellowed for more, but we were denied a second encore, sadly. But it was very hard to complain in anyway. The other pleasure of the night was seeing how gracious and kind and genuine the band were. They were continually smiling and greeting the audience with great humour and humility. So, not only are they supremely talented, but also very gracious. A special night that will stay long in the memory.

Set List
Sun Giant
Sun It Rises
Drops In The River
English House
White Winter Hymnal
Ragged Wood
Your Protector
Crayon Angels (Judee Sill cover) (Robin Solo)
Oliver James (Robin Solo)
Quiet Houses
He Doesn't Know Why

Katie Cruel (Robin Solo)
Tiger Mountain Song (Robin Solo)
Blue Ridge Mountains

I am a huge fan of The Dodos. In fact their latest album "Visiter" was even more well liked by me this year then "Fleet Foxes". Which is saying something. So, I was just as excited to see this band as I was to see Fleet Foxes. They didn't disappoint. At all. This band is quite unique and special. Their percussion is phenomenal. Their musicianship quite astonishing. Meric Long brandished an ancient Gibson guitar and his finger picking was something to behold. Drummer Logan Kroeber was placed front of stage to show off his extraordinary talents. He has an array of drums and he beats them with great power and stunning rhythms. He also likes to play the rims of the drums to give his sound that distinct rapping resonance.

To hear the clarion call of "It's That Time Again" was a thrilling start and it was inevitable that "Paint The Rust" would soon follow, a song that fully displays the dynamics and sheer vitality of this talented band. Which is now augmented by the addition of Joe Haener, whose specialty is the glockenspiel, but he also has a knack for drumming sounds out of anything. For "Fools" Meric sported a trombone for the intro, adding a special touch. Then Logan's drumbeats signalled the start of this robust tune. "Joe's Waltz" was also great, building momentum before exploding into a dramatic and frenetic climax. "Jodi" was its own melodic magic, before they closed with the sublime "The Season" which was thunderous and ecstatic, a great showing of the band's dynamism and sheer strength. This set was only a prelude to a night of greatness.

Set List
It's That Time Again
Paint The Rust
Joe's Waltz
new song?
The Season


  • At January 04, 2009 , Anonymous Tim said...

    great review. such an incredible night. i thought the crowd was great for this gig too...so appreciative and seemed to know the band's material really well. some of the sing-a-longs that got going were amazing to say the least. btw, i think i was standing right in front of you but i wasn't sure.

  • At January 04, 2009 , Anonymous James said...

    Saw they in Melbourne on Friday and they were just as phenomenal. I think it might be one of the best gigs of the year too!

  • At January 04, 2009 , Blogger Wayne said...

    Thanks Tim, I thought it might have been you. Will have to say hello next time I see you at a gig.

    James, there seems to be universal
    love for the Foxes.

  • At January 05, 2009 , Blogger Alexandra said...

    the only thing that would have made it better was if it wasn't at the metro.

    that being said, amazing.

  • At January 07, 2009 , Anonymous Roshan said...

    What an amazing show! Such an awesome gig for my first gig of 09.


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