Fleet Foxes Brought Their Wistful, Bearded Magic To Miami

When we entered the Fillmore we were met with the soft, sweet sound of Natalie Prass singing with her band. There were about five of them on stage, jamming to her jazz-inspired, lilting vocals that seemed to jump between octaves like skipping stones. A stationary image of a frog atop a yellow rose was projected behind them, providing a fantastical, yet almost comical backdrop that harkened back to the days where Clip Art reigned supreme. (Some fun Word Art would have been the cherry on top.) Literally, it was “frog on flower.jpeg.” The still frame, somehow both eerie and comforting, peered over the band’s shoulders onto the crowd. It made one wonder about the necessity of moving visuals when a still image could hold such power.

Soon afterwards, Fleet Foxes took the center of the stage, lined up in front of beautiful, thematic visuals reflective of their new album Crack-Up, opening with I Am All That I Need / Arroyo Seco / Thumbprint Scar. With his familiar, soothing energy, lead singer Robin Pecknold guided the crowd through masterpieces old and new. The audience sang along, many of us swooning with nostalgia as they played some of their best classics—White Winter Hymnal, Your Protector, Blue Ridge Mountain, Tiger Mountain Peasant Song and, of course, Mykonos. Behind them, moving paper patterns reminiscent of the Mykonos music video, storm clouds, and watercolor close-ups moved gracefully further augmented the nostalgic experience the band provided.

Perhaps the most awe-inspiring aspect of seeing Fleet Foxes perform live was the chance to watch their secret weapon work his magic. You may not have heard his name before, but you’ve certainly heard his influence on Fleet Foxes’ music: Morgan Henderson, a self-taught multi-instrumentalist, stood at stage right, seamlessly switching instruments as the show went on. A cello, a bass clarinet, a tambourine, a flute, and a baritone were all in his repertoire—and that probably barely scratches the surface of his musical talent. His performance was awe-inspiring; proof that adding just the right amount of unorthodox instrumentation is key to elevating the overall sonic experience.