In the world of indie rock, one bearded, plaid-wearing group of mountain men has been attracting quite a lot of attention.

Since their debut, self-titled album was released in 2008, Fleet Foxes have soared to fame and even gained some mainstream recognition. Last night, the band played a nearly sold-out concert at Hill Auditorium as part of a tour that will lead them across the United States and onto Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

“I thought it was pretty fantastic,” said Public Policy junior Michael Bloom after the show. “Hill Auditorium has the best acoustics in the Midwest, so you know, it really topped it off.”

Hill Auditorium often hosts classical music concerts — the last popular music artist to play at the venue was rapper Lupe Fiasco in April. The auditorium is recognized by many as a top venue, and with a capacity of 3,561 audience members, it’s an ideal place for Ann Arbor to hold high-profile concerts.

“Hill’s really cool, because it’s really easy to hear,” said LSA junior Elana Firsht. “I may be in the mezzanine, but it felt like I was in the front row.”

Even Fleet Foxes’s lead singer Robin Pecknold remarked from onstage that Hill is “so beautiful and fun to play in.”

Formed in 2006 in Seattle, Wash., Fleet Foxes have released two EPs and two full-length albums. The latest, Helplessness Blues, came out in May and garnered near-perfect ratings from Pitchfork, and Rolling Stone magazine.

Part of Fleet Foxes’s popularity is due to their folksy, Appalachian-inspired melodies, blending elements of rock with traditional American music. Many of their songs seem to come straight out of a log cabin in the Adirondacks.

“I like their folky, indie, kind of offbeat sound,” Firsht said.

That sound is also a result of the band’s rich and complex harmonies, which bring to mind folk groups of the ’60s like The Mamas and the Papas and Peter, Paul and Mary. In last night’s show, Fleet Foxes incorporated unlikely instruments including the mandolin, flute and harmonium — giving their songs a unique, rustic flavor.

A giant screen greeted concertgoers with the cheeky phrase “YOU ARE AT A MUSICAL CONCERT CONGRATULATIONS” projected over a scenic picture-postcard image of a mountain range. The mostly college-aged audience burst into applause when Fleet Foxes opening act, The Walkmen, took the stage.

The five East Coast-based members of The Walkmen have a driving and energetic garage-band style. One particularly bouncy number, “Blue as your Blood,” spurred two audience members to alternately bounce up and down in their seats like a see-saw.

Fleet Foxes took the stage after a 15-minute set change, playing songs from Helplessness Blues, as well as hits from their eponymous debut LP. After a long standing ovation, the band returned to the stage to play two encores. The first, “I Let You,” is a previously unrecorded song that Pecknold said he wrote a few months ago.

The band will stay in the Midwest for the weekend, playing shows in Chicago today and tomorrow.

—Sharon Jacobs contributed to this report.

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