Fleet Foxes’ Summertime Soundtrack

July 26, 2017

I brought my own assumptions before discovering the Fleet Foxes gorgeous folk-rock comeback album. Lots of college students dream about dropping-out for rock ‘n’ roll, but this band’s frontman dreamed about college and dropped-out of rock n roll to pursue it. That idea alone helped undo my preconceptions.

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I knew that they get played in Starbucks and Urban Outfitters, and I once dated a guy who wouldn’t shut up about them (that relationship ended sooner than this album’s time stamp). Forgive me, but I first thought they’d be pretentious and boring, the very kind of music a guy you meet on Tinder would listen to. I’ve been wrong before, though, and I was wrong about this band.

The Seattle-based group’s latest album Crack-Up exceeded my expectations. To compare it to musicians I’m more familiar with, it’s a mix both thematically and sound-wise of Tom Waits, the Lumineers, and Bob Dylan. Here’s a brief rundown of some highlights for this listener new to the Foxes’ fold.

By the first few seconds of track one (which I refer to more briefly as “I Am All That I Need,” easier than the impossibly long actual title), I found myself staring at the ceiling and listening intently. It’s a surreal sound, soothing but jarring at the same time. The whisper/shout/whisper style of it reminded me a lot of early Peter Gabriel-era Genesis. It fades almost seamlessly into track two, a song called “Cassius,-” (weird punctuation courtesy of Fleet Foxes). It’s a gentle lullaby-esque sound that doesn’t match its disconcerting lyrics, but that’s a win in my book.

The album’s strongest and most beautiful song “Kept Woman” hearkens back to Led Zeppelin’s “going to California.” It’s soft, slow, and mournful, perfect for long stretches of highway on the way home from the lake, or the ocean beach, but I do live in Tennessee, after all.

I don’t usually like being proven wrong in my gut assumptions, especially not when it comes to music. But when it comes to this album, I’m willing to swallow my pride. I’ve never really had the desire to live on a 1970s commune, but I imagine Fleet Foxes would make the perfect soundtrack for a movie about one. Their music is summertime, coming-of-age and road-trip-worthy, and that’s just what the music world needs now. -Hannah Barger

Adam’s Humanity & Recovery Take Center Stage in Big Week for U2

July 5, 2017

When Adam Clayton strolled onto the Tree Stage at MetLife Stadium on June 28th and 29th, it wasn’t an ordinary week for the bass man, in what has been a rehearsed and routine set each night for Joshua Tree Tour 2017.

Long accustomed to being quietly appreciated for his tasty bass lines and laid-back demeanor, Adam was the toast of New York on June 26th. Celebrated by the MusiCares foundation for his recovery from alcohol addiction and for using his celebrity to help at-risk youth, Adam gave a heart-pulling and outspoken speech about his battles with alcohol, and ultimately, his conquering through surrender.
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Opening-up to the intimate crowd in midtown Manhattan with his inspiring speech, Adam shared, “I was filled with fear and unable to objectively examine what was going on or see how these negative traits were holding me back.” Adam credited a varied group including Eric Clapton, Pete Townsend, his U2 bandmates, and his wife Mariana, who he says: “has never seen me drinking, but she does know me crazy.”

The evening had musical performances from artists as varied as Macy Gray, Jack Garratt, and The Lumineers who performed “One,” a song the band used to cover in bars down the street just a half decade ago. Ultimately, it was Bono, The Edge, and Larry Mullen Jr who joined their bassman for a short set including “Stuck in a Moment,” “Vertigo,” and “I Will Follow,” to close out a magical and intimate evening.

48 hours later, “intimate” was not a word that was likely on Adam’s Clayton’s mind. At 9:25 pm, MetLife Stadium busted with energy from 50,000 souls, as Adam joined his bandmates to start what would be an epic two-night stand at the New York area’s tour stops.

With the band’s wives, daughters, and best friends all in attendance—U2 came ready to play. The Joshua Tree Tour has been on the road for 18 shows since mid-May and these shows were #19 and #20, before finishing up the leg in Cleveland on July 1st. In other words, the tour is in full force now.

With an inspired Adam providing the backbone along with Larry Mullen Jr’s drums, U2 played their now traditional War-Unforgettable Fire knockout prelude to start the shows before heading to the main stage to play The Joshua Tree. “Bad” has been an emotional and appropriate part of this opening section, and in Boston on Sunday the 25th, Bono gave a special nod and dedication to Adam, in anticipation of the Monday event.

During night one, it was Bono who referred to the album as a cassette jokingly making fun of the fact that many in the audience were babies when the songs were first released. This tour has been a revelation not only for fans, but the band itself to rediscover the Joshua Tree songs live, and Bono made sure he reiterated: “It’s taken us 30 years to get to know this album, songs are mysterious things. Like an old friend, you think you know them, but then they surprise you”.

Night two, saw Adam continue the playful mood, as Bono told the intriguing story of briefly touring with an Irish band called the “Drifting Cowboys.” Per Bono’s words, this band during U2’s very early years recommended to Bono to change from rock to country to increase chances of success.  Needless to say, we are lucky Bono didn’t heed that advice.

Ultimately, the show at MetLife Stadium on June 29th, culminated one of the most unforgettable weeks for Adam Clayton. And as he played the beautiful bass line to “The Little Things That Give You Away” ending one of the shows, it was us fans who are grateful to have Adam be part of our lives. -Jaime Rodriguez @Jrodconcerts

Jaime

 

 

 

 

 

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