The Fox Theater
Billy Corgan has for some time walked the fine line between rock god and willful artist, juggling The Smashing Pumpkins’ demands of scale with his own steadfast creative ambitions. And critics and fans both have had their phases of obsession with the alt-rock champions of the '90s, and yet Corgan and company have rarely pandered to anything but their own vision.
Seattle’s Fleet Foxes are something of an anomaly these days, that rare laptop-less band with members who ask for less instrumental volume from the soundboard guy. Their organic approach to the song — hyper-lush vocal arrangements, dreamy and varied instrumentation, and sweeping, ambitiously evocative songs — has, incidentally, won them plaudits from an increasingly broad range of critics and fans alike. Long story short: they’re the new faces of indie folk rock, a title all but secured by their latest LP Helplessness Blues (Sub Pop) released to e-standing ovations this past week on a blog near you.
Long before the new album’s release, the band’s Cinco de Mayo date at Oakland’s Fox Theatre sold out, and Thursday night’s crowd seemed relatively unaware but appreciative of their new work.
Yo La Tengo performed at Oakland’s Fox Theatre last night, continuing their Spin The Wheel Tour. The stakes are pretty high when the theme of the first set is determined strictly by the spin of a wheel. The possibilities ranged from "The Name Game", songs containing peoples monikers, to “Sitcom Theatre”, during which band members perform a 30 minute TV sitcom script in its entirety. Last night’s spin landed on "Dump", thus the first set featured songs by bassist James McNew’s side project. Prince’s "The Beautiful Ones" was also performed during the first set, obviously in homage to his Purpleness’s Oakland shows.