Two days after playing to a sweaty Coachella crowd, the musicians of Fleet Foxes must have felt a bit of déjà vu when they looked out into the crowd and saw it full of the same smiling and stoned faces looking back at them Monday at the Hub.
The band played a mellow acoustic set before an appreciative and visibly energy-deficient crowd; clearly, attendees were more in the mood for folky crooning, too tired to be rocked in any traditional manner.
Maybe it was the relaxed vibe at the Hub, or maybe it was just a case of a change in venue improving a band’s sound, but the group sounded much tighter and clearer in the tiny campus venue than on the massive outdoor stage at Coachella. The Seattle-based band was preceded by fellow folk rockers and Blitzen Trapper (another band coming to Santa Barbara straight from an appearance at the festival), who came back out after the show and joined Fleet Foxes onstage for the final song of the encore. Blitzen Trapper also found a positive reception from the crowd, at times coming dangerously close to equaling the musical prowess of the headliner and inciting some sort of top-billing controversy.
Judging by the crowd’s response when lead singer Sean Pecknold asked who had been to Coachella, many in the crowd had reason to look tired but happy to be there. Well, it could have been the long weekend in Indio, or it could have been the show’s 4/20 date.
I’m guessing most people who got back from the festival were probably out enjoying some free beachside entertainment on Del Playa Drive rather than dropping an additional $18 on a band they already saw a few days ago.
“Your Protector” and “Sun it Rises” were the two best songs played during the concert, as Pecknold and the rest of the band reached a feverish intensity of folksiness unrivaled at UCSB in recent years, and the band found an easy interaction with the spectators.
Pecknold and the rest of the band are given somewhat to onstage banter, but usually of the funny and entertaining kind. That night, the subject was “Jurassic Park” and the survivability of various aspects of the Hub were a Tyrannosaurus rex to burst through one of the walls and attempt to consume the band members.
Although an afternoon showing of the movie might have inspired some of the banter, I have to admit that the lagoon does seem eerie; we might see some Velociraptors attacking a jeep carrying Jeff Goldblum and Newman from “Seinfeld” before the school year is out.