Thursday, April 14, 2005

Fiery Furnaces at the Southgate House

Someday, maybe soon, I'm going to be too old for this, but it hasn't happened yet. I mean going to a local club to see My Favorite Band. Yes, the Fiery Furnaces (finally!) made it to our area.

So I wended my way last night to the Southgate House across the river (a pleasingly lowkey venue) to catch the show. Radishia was there and we hung out and watched the show. I'd read the reviews and kinda knew what to expect: a long medley of their songs, with new arrangements, played really loud. And that's what happened. Imagine "Bohemian Rhapsody" played lickety-split, punk/garage-style (with synthesizers thrown in), for over an hour. Wow. Dang. It was good.

The last modern band I saw was the Flaming Lips a couple of years ago, and they present a decided contrast in performing styles. The Lips are determined to entertain you by any means possible, adding film, balloons, costumes, and stand-up comedy to the music. The Furnaces will not go to such lengths, they won't even meet you halfway. They won't court you. There are no balloons. They are uncompromising, unrelenting, and very musical.

Eleanor, the singer, is an alt-rock goddess in waiting, star quality in spades. She didn't play anything (I've seen pictures of her performing with guitar), but roamed the stage, mike in hand, bawling over the din. She looked a bit like Joey Ramone, skinnier than the pictures, hair in her eyes. Matt ran the band from keyboards and guitar (a Telecaster repaired with duct tape), and the drummer (Andy Knowles) was a revelation: a blond Keith Moon, mugging, knocking over cymbal stands, hurling the sticks high. Before the show he was hanging out behind the T-shirt counter.

The show brought out all the geekily hip and cognoscent folk in the area, made them drop their bohemian angst for a night and start in to hoopin' and hollerin'. It was cool. The band shone. Give them an A, and hope they come back soon.


Unknown said...

i'll second the A and see you a plus. the music and the weather...both put me in a blueberry boat mood.

alice said...

Your description was much more eloquent/apt. You're right-on about the no-courting, I liked how the band came out for the third? time and Eleanor looks around and says in a totally flat voice, "Oh. I guess we're still playing". (I just realized I put this response on my own journal entry.... -Occasionally Challenged).