Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Fiery Furnaces

I'm afraid I am not doing a very good job of staying current with my concert going posts. I must and will try to be more diligent.

Regardless, I didn't want to blog about any more recent concerts until I wrote about my last show of 2009; The Fiery Furnaces on December 11th at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. I've been a fan of the band's since their 2003 debut, Gallowsbird's Bark and have seen them a half dozen times. The band is lead by the brother/sister team Eleanor and Matthew Friedberger. Because of the garage blues elements of their sound, they have often been compared to The White Stripes. They remind me more of an artier version of The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion or Boss Hog; two bands that TWS may draw some comparisons as well. Though their records lean toward the conceptual, their live performance was an edgy rocking affair that teetered on the brink of experimentation. They displayed the incredible musical interplay that has become their trademark with Eleanor, Matthew and bassist Jason Loewenstein prodding and cajoling one another. Their live shows, and this was no different, each seem to take on a life of their own with the band improvising and expanding songs continually, adding to the experimental feel of the performance. Every live show you feel like your discovering something, or someone, new. Add to the mix Eleanor's channeling of Patti Smith (down to the tweed overcoat she wore when she enter the stage) and the songs take on an even edgier feel. She even seems to be sometimes reciting the lyrics. All of this builds a Fiery mood and groovy tempo that is challenging and rocking at the same time. N.B. Eleanor is married to Franz Ferdinand lead singer Alex Kapranos. Could there be a Future Fiery Franz Furnace Ferdinand collaboration? We could only Fantasize.

It's worth mentioning the opening act who I enjoyed a lot, Shilpa Ray and the Happy Hookers. Formerly of Beat The Devil, Shilpa hits you with her harmonium (and vocals) like a first punch in the face. Don't duck, it's pretty awesome.

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