At Constitution Hall on Sunday night, the uneven but rapturously received 95-minute headlining set by the furry, stocking-capped Seattle pastoral-folk sextet Fleet Foxes demonstrated two things:
1. The sun-dappled choral epiphanies that punctuate their wintry song-suites are plenty big to fill that always cavernous-feeling room; and
2. These guys need to be more mindful of pacing now that they’re selling out the big halls. Nothing kills an entrance deader than when an artist walks on to face the cheering thousands and then decides to tune his instrument as if we’d all dropped in without calling first.
That’d be frontman Robin Pecknold, a man with a lithe and limber voice whose stage persona is as winning and humble as his songs — heavy with invocations of trees and mountains and snowflakes — would suggest. During the show’s most indelible moments — his solo-acoustic encore of “Oliver James,” the epic ballad “The Shrine/An Argument” — Pecknold’s supple pipes transcended the many patches of dead air. Stillness is an essential element of this band’s delicate music, but it’s tough to come by in a room full of brohams in flip-flops and baseball caps. Those pauses invariably play as an invitation to shout stuff.
“No one understands the meta spectacle of what we’re trying to do with the tuning thing,” quipped drummer/vocalist Joshua Tillman during one of those momentum-sucking interludes.
He was right. I don’t understand why you wouldn’t have your roadie bring your guitar pre-tuned. But I know that those harmonies have the power to silence any objection, if not interruption.
Klimek is a freelance writer.