American Indie Folk-rocker’s Fleet Foxes played a sold-out McMenamin’s Edgefield Saturday, where not even copious forest fire smoke kept fans away.

Fans were rewarded with a seamless show, as the band effortlessly delivered tracks from a setlist evenly split between all three of their albums.

They opened their show with three tracks from their new “Crack-Up” release – including “Arroyo Seco” and “Cassius.” As the show unfolded they flawlessly showcased a top-notch tapestry of tracks from their three releases: “Fleet Foxes” (2008) “Helplessness Blues” (2011 ), and “Crack-Up.”

Preferring to let the music speak for itself, band figurehead Robin Pecknold kept talk to a minimum.

He did, however, comment several times about air quality. Smoke from nearby forest fires including Columbia Gorge’s Eagle Creek Fire was so thick, some concert-goers wore masks and the show start-time was suddenly (and wisely) moved ahead by 30 minutes.

“Enjoy tomorrow’s rain,” he commented towards evening’s end.

Noteworthy crowd-pleasers included “Ragged Wood” “Your Protector” and “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song.” The band also performed perennial favorites “Blue Ridge Mountains” and “Mykonos.”

Fleet Foxes shared an electrifying re-working of their touching, refined instrumental “The Cascades,” another capstone.

Following a captivating performance of “Helplessness Blues,” the night drew to a close. A standing ovation prompted a short encore, including “Oliver James” from their first album.

Kudos to the sound techs

The show was enhanced by some choice lighting and the venue’s exceptional sound system, boasting ace speakers and excellent acoustics.

Additionally, sound wizards managed to provide sound volume that did not offend the eardrums but was high enough to drown out any errant talkers (inevitably, there’s always a few). Bravo.

About Fleet Foxes

Originally from Seattle and now Portland-based, Fleet Foxes was signed by Sub Pop records in 2008.

They released debut “Fleet Foxes” to critical acclaim. That album has been certified gold in the U.S. and platinum in the U.K. “Helplessness Blues” was released in 2011 to somewhat less enthusiastic but overall positive reception.

New release “Crack up” triumphs with surprises and innovative approaches all framed within the band’s signature sound.

The band counts amongst their influences Van Morrison, Crosby Stills & Nash, and John Fahey.

Enjoy “Grown Ocean,” which the band performed Saturday:

Natalie Prass

It’s not easy opening for a band as popular as Fleet Foxes, and in the midst of smoke-laden skies to boot.

Nevertheless, hailing from Virginia, singer-songwriter Natalie Prass and her adept, polished band opened the night.

Prass and her band performed a solid setlist of strong, soul-tinged pop arrangements with gusto, and are a band to watch.

~ ~ ~

Next stops for the band are Nevada and California, then the tour heads abroad to Switzerland, Austria, Croatia and Italy.

Cynthia Orlando
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