As reported on this past Friday, Fleet Foxes have been named the musical guest for this Saturday's episode of Saturday Night Live with host Rosario Dawson. Lorne Michaels booked the band to perform a week after sugary-sweet teen pop-star Taylor Swift graced the stage, ushering in the second time Fleet Foxes have been mentioned in the same breath with Ms. Swift in the past month. Saturday Night Live has always focused on bringing the newest, most relevant music to the masses, so their decision to book Fleet Foxes is a smart one. The Foxes had quite the 2008, releasing one of the most critically acclaimed, regionally relevant albums of the year. Their spot on SNL, while cringe-inducing to some indie purists, is ultimately beneficial for the band, reason number one being the cultural resurgence SNL has seen with this past election. Why not put one of the most important American bands of the past few years on one of America's longest-running comedy institutions?
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Everyone's favorite 2008 indie darlings (emphasis on the darling), Vampire Weekend, donned their nicest sweaters and cleanest loafers this past March to take the SNL music stage, proving that Executive Producer Lorne Michaels has his finger on the pulse and knows (at least he acts like he knows) what the kids are listening to these days. That same stage that has seen its fair share of music icons since NBC's Saturday Night, as it was known then, kicked things off in 1975. Elvis Costello famously interrupted his performance of "Less Than Zero" after a few bars to jump into the song "Radio, Radio," at the behest of his label, Columbia. The move got him banned from SNL for 12 years. Of course everyone knows about Sinead O'Connor's performance in 1992, so I won't go there.
Fleet Foxes make a great choice for Michaels and SNL. It will expose the band to an audience (40-65 year old white men) that most likely has not heard their music. They are the first Northwest band since The Shins in 2007 to grace the stage, and they continue a mini-legacy of Northwest music on SNL that was started, appropriately enough, by Nirvana in 1992. That legacy reached its crux in 1998 when Elliott Smith took to the stage and performed "Waltz #2," forever cementing his legacy as the reluctant genius that he was. The big question, of course, is whether lead singer and notorious seat-taker Robin Pecknold will stand up during the performance. My guess is no. Either way, it is shaping up to be quite the performance, one that I am eager to witness.
Saturday Night Live with guest host Rosario Dawson and music guest Fleet Foxes will air Saturday, January 17 at 10:30 on NBC