The number-one hot news item from the past week is that the Washington State Liquor Control Board is going to review the rule prohibiting performers from drinking alcohol onstage while performing. It's one of the biggest complaints about playing Seattle you'll hear from touring musicians (not to mention local ones). The more people who attend the public hearing at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, October 12, the better. (It's in the boardroom of the WSLCB, 3000 Pacific Ave SE, Olympia.) If you can't make the trip, you can send your feelings on the matter by October 12 to: Rules Coordinator, Liquor Control Board, PO Box 43080, Olympia, WA 98504-3080; fax: 360-664-9689; or e-mail: email@example.com. For more info, see this week's news story.
Yes, I was responsible for the whole "take the Fleet Foxes album to the zoo and play it for the animals" thing in The Stranger a few months ago. But last week, a friend and I went to see them play the Paramount in earnest. "I fucking love you guys!" a woman shouted out before the first song, and variations on this theme rang out between almost every song in the band's set. Past the band on the projection screen, 1970s sweater designs looked like they were playing Tetris and Space Invaders with falling snow and mountain images.
I've had a hard time connecting with Fleet Foxes' music for the most part, and after reading Charles Mudede's piece on them, I started to get why:
It is here that I think the magic of their music exists: It is a pure concentration of bucolic evocations. This music happens almost entirely in the imagination and does not refer to any reality. Pecknold's lyrics are interconnected codes that float with hologram-like autonomy.
And that's just it. Caught in the tangle of adulthood and poverty and the city and work and bus schedules and health insurance, it just doesn't speak my language. The sound needs the appropriate context. Those subtly changing and slowly expanding pastoral song structures need a subtly changing and slowly expanding pastoral country road or, say, Charles's metaphorical cabin in the woods with a fire set in the hearth (without Charles). But there that night, with the imagery and the mood and the music, I got it. "Montezuma" and "Battery Kinzie" truly grabbed me, had me in a trance, even though, during the quietest parts of the mid-set songs, I could hear my friend tapping away on her phone. A minute later, she was grabbing my arm—"I love this song!" Walking back up the hill for a nightcap after the show, my friend giddily said of the Foxes' music: "Me, my sisters, all my friends—it just does something to women. I can't really explain it." Time to find a girl and a road trip.