Monday, March 24, 2008

Blitzen Trapper and Fleet Foxes @ Bottletree

Sorry for the late review of this show (almost 2 weeks late), but real life reared it's head this past week. Some space filler before Clyde & I get this thing cranked back up. Enjoy:

Fleet Foxes opened, and although I missed probably the first three songs, I probably enjoyed thier set the most. FF hails from the Northwest like their touring counterparts. Were you given no time frame, from the looks you might think this band stepped out of the Woodstock era with, and their psychadelic-folk sound might not change your mind. Parts of their music definitely brings thoughts of Crosby Stills Nash & Young. Yet, their robust sound is definitely refreshing. The layered vocals and use of echoing sound effects also reminded me of MMJ, with wordless choruses that also invoked Funeral Arcade Fire and even Yeasayer. If I haven't put my finger on it yet, no matter, officially one of my new favorite bands. They obviously impressed the early crowd there to see Trapper and Dog. My favorites were "White Winter Hymnal" with its acapella opening and "English House". Really enjoyed the electric mandolin, too. I picked up their six song Sun Giant EP on the way out (which is fantastic) and hope to discover more from them in the near future.

Fleet Foxes - White Winter Hymnal

Blitzen Trapper, unsurprisingly, was a stark contrast to the openers. They came out loud and boisterous with their eclectic sound which I have appropriately heard likened to Grateful Dead meets Pavement. They opened the set with the rocker "Miss Spiritual Tramp", then quickly changed pace to my favorite from Wild Mountain Nation, "Country Caravan", which substituted electric for the acoustic guitar and seemed to be a faster pace. A very involved band: each member picking up multiple instruments through out, from miniature keyboards to cowbells to maracas, even getting Fleet Foxes to participate with more percussion. Lead singer Eric Earley carries on this intense animation in their performance by conveying his lyrics not only orally but through multiple hand gestures, almost as if he is doing an interpretive dance. A sample of their set list: "Miss Spiritual Tramp", "Country Caravan", "Wild Mountain Nation", "Sci-Fi Kid", "Murder Babe" (best of the night IMHO), "Shoulder Full of You" (off their tour EP3); and to end, an intense, ear-busting version of "Woof & Warp of the Quite Giant's Hem". Blitzen Trapper was truly a blast.

Dr. Dog ended the night, which was quite anti-climatic for me. Never been a fan of their music, and what I saw of their live performance didn't change my mind. Unlike FF and BT, they struggle to raise their head above the stereotypical sound of today's indie rock. This is true from their style of music right down to their dress (one guy with heart lens sunglasses, the other dressed up like Grover Dill from A Christmas Story). Sorry, I just don't get it.

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