Fleet Foxes

We’ve always been big fans of The Bees here at Gig Junkies. Ever since we saw them (and were blown away) in 2003 at the ‘old’ Birmingham Academy 3. Needless to say when we found out that they were supporting the splendid Fleet Foxes we knew we were in for a veritable treat of harmonies upon harmonies and upbeat folk jaunts. Delightful.

The Bees

In a night of musical acts named after 2 of my favourites from the animal kingdom, first up the Bees.

The Bees

Looking a lot less scruffy than previous times I’ve seen them (I do believe they’d even had haircuts and beard trims) the Isle of Wighters waste no time in winning over the crowd pulling out upbeat oldies like ‘These are the Ghosts’ and ‘Punchbag’. Playing a similar brand of high tempo and musically clever tunes, it quickly became evident that the Bees are the perfect support act for the main event. Well chose Foxes!! As is traditional, every 2 or 3 songs the boys swap instruments and play their new ‘weapons of choice’ with aplomb – much to the delight of the appreciative audience. From trumpet to tambourine everything blends together perfectly.

The Bees

‘A Minha Menina’ flows in to ‘Better Days’ and even a jam-like instrumental off the new album goes down a storm. They finish the set with the ever-so-slightly catchy ‘Really Need Love’ which is a glorious and fitting finale. Support bands often get ignored by the crowd, most of whom are focussed on the main event. Not so the Bee’s. On the final strum of the guitar, the crowd go crazy, demonstrating their appreciation of the 5 piece with whoops and hollas aplenty!

Fleet Foxes

Having never seen the Fleet Foxes I didn’t know what to expect from the Seattle outfit. I’ve heard they were tight, clever musically and deliverers of great harmonies. After a few strums of their guitars the lead singer halted proceedings to thank their predecessors. Problem was only the first couple of rows can hear him – shouts of “turn it up” ensue from the back. I can honestly say this is the only criticism for the whole night.

From the atmospheric opening, right the way through the 90 minute set I have to say it is little short of mind blowing. Haunting harmonies – reminiscent of 80’s songmeisters Clannad – combined with superb musicianship and tremendous melodic songs, treat the audience of the packed Civic Hall to an unforgettable night.

Fleet Foxes

Bass player interchanged with Double Bass player, guitarist opts for a violinists bow and all seemed right with the the World for the hour and half that they Foxes are on stage. From ‘White Winter Hymnal’ through to ‘He Doesn’t Know Why’ it is obvious they are either uber talented and practice for hour after hour. Or both, as they are phenomenally tight. Song after glorious song builds up hypnotically, in a way composers of yesteryear produced their classical masterpieces to glorious crescendo and tremendous climax.

Stand out tune from the set – Mykonos, the song which reminds me of a Greet island (is it – answers on a postcard gig junkies!) iss beautifully delivered with impeccable timing and glorious harmonies from the 5 piece much to the evident delight of the eager crowd. It’s always good to see a flautist thrown into the mix for good measure too!

Fleet Foxes

All in all it’s been a night of 60’s folk throwbacks and like the times of flower power, hippies and flared trousers, it was a night of joy and merriment enjoyed by all.

Fleet Foxes + The Bees Review by Zak Edwards
Fleet Foxes + The Bees Photography by Bianca Barrett

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