Frontman Robin Pecknold

Paul Wellman

Frontman Robin Pecknold

Fleet Foxes

Seattle-Based Band Delivers Great Show at UCSB

A word to the wise: When attending a concert at UCSB, pack light. This past Monday, Associated Students (A.S.) Program Board scored some serious indie rock cred by playing host to the dazzling double header of Blitzen Trapper and Fleet Foxes at the Hub. Sadly, the extensive pre-show pat down routine held about half of the crowd outside the venue for most of the opening set.

Security issues aside, the post-Coachella coup was nothing short of a triumph for A.S.-not to mention a sonic score for those lucky enough to snag a ticket. The Portland-based Blitzen Trapper started things off strong with a multitude of cuts off their 2008 LP, Furr. Together with guitarist/melodica-dabbler Marty Marquis, frontman Eric Earley harmonized through funky (“Saturday Nite”), folksy (“Lady on the Water”), and hard rocking (“Love U”) tunes despite the still growing crowd, and undoubtedly won over a few new fans in the process. The set’s crowning moment, though, came by way of “Not Your Lover,” a stripped-down ditty that allowed Earley to show off his vocal chops against some early Elton-inspired piano and harmonica.

Frontman Robin Pecknold (center) showed off his lauded vocal chops to a sold-out crowd during Monday night's Fleet Foxes show at UCSB's Hub.
Click to enlarge photo

Paul Wellman

Frontman Robin Pecknold (center) showed off his lauded vocal chops to a sold-out crowd during Monday night’s Fleet Foxes show at UCSB’s Hub.

A little after 10 p.m., Fleet Foxes took to the stage and quickly floored the audience with the a capella opener to their 2008 EP, Sun Giant. Keeping time against his acoustic, frontman Robin Pecknold delivered leads on a dazzling two-minute-long harmonization that segued almost seamlessly into the slow build of “Crowns in the River.” The smooth transition quickly became a driving theme in the band’s set, connecting one folksy hymnal to the next while allowing the fivesome room for a few impromptu orchestrations.

In between tunes, the fellas did not fail to take note of their converted food court backdrop, at one point joking, “I see a couple people by Panda Express-are you okay?” Throughout the show, the band’s lighthearted banter drove home the intimate nature of the evening, something no doubt helped along by their lush, room-filling harmonizing.

The mid-set cooldown came when Pecknold decided to go it alone with his acoustic, beautifully belting out “Oliver James” and “Innocent Son” to a sea of rapt fans. The meat of the set closed with the slow building “Mykonos,” then got an awe-inspiring restart by way of Pecknold’s encore-opening cover of “Katie Cruel.” Standing solo on the stage’s end, the singer decided to forgo the mike and belt the traditional ditty straight to his audience. The result was something like watching a minstrel busk in a courtyard, and served to highlight just how strong and emotionally wrought Pecknold’s voice is.

To call Foxes’ show meticulous would be an understatement, as they collectively never missed a beat. Still, the band’s sheer talent and camaraderie kept things from ever feeling even close to rehearsed. The bottom line: These are five guys making inventive, thought provoking, and hopeful music. And five years from now, we’ll be able to look back and note just how lucky we were to catch them in a heavily guarded food court.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Volunteers in Policing Is Looking for 10 Good Men and Women

An eye-opening volunteer program at Santa Barbara Police Department.

Alvarado and Ford File for School Board

Mark M. Alvarado and Kate Ford registered to run for the Santa Barbara Unified school board.

Thousands Received DACA Relief After Lawsuits Filed

Renewal applications have totaled 117,446 since program suspension was overturned.

Bank Robbery Suspect Kills Self in Bathroom

[Update] The suspect in the Goleta Rabobank robbery has been identified as Keith David Goodwin, believed to ...

News-Press’ Found to Owe Union and Employees $2.2 Million

National Labor Relations Board puts money amount on employee losses since 2006.