REVIEW: Fleet Foxes at The O2 Guildhall in Southampton

Fleet Foxes
Fleet Foxes
Guest speakers at the conference will include Mikey Demus from the band Skindred

Going underground as free music conference at Portsmouth Guildhall aims to help new acts

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Fleet Foxes’ final UK tour date in support of their critically acclaimed third album, Crack-Up, on Wednesday night was, at times, visually vibrant and musically majestic.

The indie-folk pioneers from Seattle certainly seem to have mastered the trick of making a larger venue feel small and intimate when they want to.

For a band that has only recently returned to the stage after a five-year hiatus, and one that in all honesty has relied upon their albums rather than singles to establish a loyal following, the mid-week crowd, which filled the venue, was more enthusiastic than I had anticipated.

Songwriter and frontman Robin Pecknold seemed painfully shy, but the warmth of the audience allowed him to relax and converse more freely between songs as the show progressed.

The choice to front-load the set with more sprawling, newer material was a brave one, but the show was punctuated with two acoustic solo interludes and crowd-pleasers throughout.

This ensured the two-hour performance never lost momentum. The trademark vocal harmonies and ornate instrumentation was bolstered by an impressive performance by Christian Wargo on bass, which propelled tracks, like former single Mykonos, along with thundering intensity.

By the time Helplessness Blues closed the show, you realised you’d witnessed something quite special.