Fleet Foxes have been heavily praised for knocking some harmony and mysticism back into the young folk music scene, and are legitimately and impressively striking heroic chords with many numbed indie and folk hearts. While they do tread lightly on the heels of like bands—Band of Horses, Grizzly Bear—Fleet Foxes’ genre-bending doesn’t feel scene-based but rather, inspired by a genuine desire to fly the indie coop and make a nest elsewhere.
The Howlin’ Wolf’s drafty space has never been particularly cathedral-like, but the breaths of rich, four-part harmonies and sheer rock of Fleet Foxes made it feel downright holy. Lead singer Robin Pecknold, acting as a kind of mountain holy man, sang several solo songs with a pure voice—melodic mountain odes and modest guitar strumming. Opening with a song from one of their EPs, “Sun Giant,” the Foxes’ first set felt like a call from the wild, a new pop echo of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, a harmonic awakening. These shepherds of nature are herding you across their landscape, and you, very willingly, follow. Pecknold and other members were friendly to the crowd throughout, cracking jokes about English majors and asking about the city. After the uplifting melodies, the full-bodied harmonies that speak of a ritually calmer existence, we were aware of a peace of mind that exists outside of the tight New Orleans’ streets and wanted that more than an encore. So everybody pack up the van, grab your hoodie, roll out that sleeping bag. Let’s take this feeling to the campfire.