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Fleet Foxes Perch Upon Chicago’s Millennium Park


As the Pritzer Pavilion’s signature shards of steel swallowed the mid-summer eve’s sun last night (July 17), the budding Seattle five-piece howled an a cappella ode from their first EP Sun Giant, drawing all walks of the Central Park of Chicago denizens — especially wild-haired, barefoot children and their hip mothers — to a vortex of harmonizing energy.

Part of Music Without Borders, a free concert series sponsored by the city, time constraints would only allot the band a half hour, which is not such a bad thing for a crew enduring their very first tour. But the hipster Beach Boys vocal parts never missed a note. And coupled with Frank Gehry’s 120-foot, orchestral masterpiece of a venue, otherwise stomping grounds for the Chicago Symphony, every baroque guitar pluck and falsetto beamed pristine towards the sky.

Some of the infinite, mountain-quiet production was indeed naturally lost on tracks from their debut LP, but instead the Foxes improvised with jokes about each others’ “weird” dreams, and selected more rocking tunes from early works, with encore duties going to the Band Of Horses b-side-a-like, “Mykonos,” with percussion entering tribal mode as the moon fully replaced the sun. And par for their course, the five-piece slowed the track to a meditative pace before stacking vocal upon vocal around the park-outing-worthy, organic reverb exit phrase, “You go wherever you go today.”

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Fleet Foxes frontman Robin Pecknold / Photo by Laura Gray

Keyboardist Casey Westcott / Photo by Laura Gray

Bassist Christian Wargo / Photo by Laura Gray

Guitarist Skyler Skjelset / Photo by Laura Gray

Wescott strikes a chord with the crowd. / Photo by Laura Gray

Pecknold’s Fleet of falsetto. / Photo by Laura Gray

Skjelset takes a breather. / Photo by Laura Gray

Pecknold may be pictured in black and white, but his band’s songs are all bright colors. / Photo by Laura Gray

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