Fleet Foxes @ El Rey, 9/22/08
Awash in a sea of plaid on Monday night, an epiphany struck: folk was chic again. It is currently hip and groovy to wear plaid shirts, headbands, feathers in your hair, and beads around your neck. We're back in the 1960s, baby. But more interesting than the fashion, because fashions come and go, was the music. The opening act was a young man from Los Angeles named Frank Fairfield. He looked and sounded like he was from the Los Angeles of 1908 rather than 2008. Hair slicked back like Clark Gable, button-down shirt buttoned to the very top button, and pants hiked up unfashionably high, this young man looked like he had just walked out of O' Brother Where Art Thou?
Here's the glorious thing that atmosphere will do for you. Put young Frank in front of a historical re-enactment, and odds are he would have been booed and heckled by these kids. But put this amazingly talented musician on stage at the El Rey, and they were putty in his hands. God, he could play. With a graceful ease that only comes with an enormous amount of practice Frank picked up a different instrument for every song. Violin, guitar, mandolin, and banjo were all plucked within an inch of their lives, and singing with joy.
But what made this all possible is the fact that the Fleet Foxes have put out an album of such exquisite beauty that the mainstream has sat up and took notice. (story continues below photo gallery)