Tuesday 18 July 2017

At the height of their talent. Fleet Foxes: Latitude Festival, 16 July 2017

Some friends and I were lucky enough to see Fleet Foxes in Berlin in 2009. In a small venue. They had nice long beards and even longer pauses between tracks, with drummer Josh Tillman (now Father John Misty) cracking jokes. I loved it because it was perfect for a small, intimate stage with one album under their belts.

Robin Pecknold, Fleet Foxes
In 2017, they're on their third album, they have smaller beards, Tillman has gone and singer Robin Pecknold has been to college. And all of those experiences seem to have only served to send them to the stratospheric level of festival headliners. This was their territory 100%. 

They have purpose and are at the height of their talent right now. They kept a punishing schedule going, mostly segueing between songs for an hour and a half. Fleet Foxes have turned into a slick machine that sees the band completely in control and in total sync with each other, with spell-binding stage presence. Standing there watching and listening to the harmonies on Mykonos is one of the gig moments of my life. 

Wonderful. And we were lucky enough to be there.  

Wednesday 5 April 2017

£10 for all this simplicity? Samantha Crain: Lexington, Angel - 4 April 2017

Is it me or am I starting to crave the simple things in life? Like doing something spontaneous and booking a gig ticket with two days to go? Like it costing £10. Like the fact that the stage times were already on the venue's website two days before showtime. Or like the burger and fries purchased downstairs before the gig. Like the small audience in an intimate setting. All of that's great but to top it off Samantha Crain was talented, side-splittingly witty, interesting, endearing and entertaining. You had to be there. Luckily I was - with gig-buddy-Steve. Samantha Crain has a bunch of songs that come to life when performed live; one (Red Sky, Blue Mountain) is sung in her native American Choctaw tongue, a language taught to her by her grandmother. And on top of that we had a bit of room around us because we weren't crushed in like you usually are. And we got home quickly. A perfect evening. And oh so simple. It was so easy to enjoy so much talent. 

Friday 3 February 2017

Hang on - Is it 1969? Hidden Charms: Dingwalls, Camden - 2 February 2017

Yes in 1969 and Hidden Charms in 2017

I was five or six when the post-summer-of-love and pre-progressive-rock thing happened: it was called psychedelia. So I missed out, but here we were in 2017 with a bunch of twenty-somethings moshing away to a band of what I can only describe as beautiful hippies. Long hair, friendly, talented. Hidden Charms have a natural stage presence and I'm sure when they have a longer repertoire they will be a big band. That's if enough youngsters are willing to embrace the psychedelic. The first thing I did on the bus home was to watch Yes on YouTube perform 'Beyond and Before' from 1969. It was as if I'd just watched them live in Camden as well.