Live Review: The Fiery Furnaces; Tapes and Tapes tonight…

Category: Blog — @ 12:36 pm June 23, 2006

I was expecting The Fiery Furnaces‘ live set to be different from their albums — no keyboards on this tour, remember? — but I wasn’t expecting the metal-rock-Rush-prog-Talking Head-Zappa-Sabbath explosion that I and about 200 of my closest friends got last night at the Sokol. “Bombastic” doesn’t quite cut it. “Mercurial guitar histrionics”? Not exactly. “Anxiety-inducing tension”? Close, but no cigar. I admit to not being a follower of said band, so I can’t really tell you how differently they sounded from their previous incarnations. I have only one of their CDs — their newest one, which Sister Eleanor said they’d be dipping from extensively. From that disc, I only recognized one song — the surrealistic “I’m in No Mood” and only because there’s no mistaking the Russian pastiche melody-line, which when played on guitar instead of keys, was downright Queen-esque. Forget all the pretty stuff on the record, Eleanor has a perfect rock voice that rests somewhere between Chrissie Hynde and Johnny Rotten. Meanwhile, I am now convinced that Brother Matthew is some type of mad genius wunderkind. It’s one thing to write this Dali-esque music, it’s another thing entirely to play guitar with the virtuosity that he commands. Who needs a synthesizer when you can make your ax create similar (or better) sounds? The bottom line: I like them better as a full-out metal band with punk overtones and a prog jones that comes from listening to too much ’70s arena rock (Did I mention Rush?). Yes, their records are interesting, almost quaint. Their live show belongs on a touring festival sandwiched between roaring sets by Cardiacs and The Who.

Yes, oh yes, I caught Kite Pilot, and they were their usual fine selves. I’ve seen them at least a half-dozen times and am aware that Sokol Underground has a way of bringing out the best in them (They should have recorded last night’s live set, in fact, why don’t more bands do that? Image the marketing potential of a record called Live at Sokol Underground…). I have no idea what they’re going to do without Austin Britton playing guitar or, like last night, washboard. They’ll find a way, just as I’m sure Austin has found his way, which is why he’s headed to Cali under the command of a higher calling.

So let’s take a moment to do a quick summary of very recent escapees: Nick White, Denver Dalley, Nik Fackler and now Austin Britton. Fun City is becoming less and less fun every day.

* * *

A crazy indie smorgasbord of a weekend began last night and continues on and on and on. Tonight it’s maybe the hottest band in the world (at least for the right-now) Tapes ‘n’ Tapes at Sokol Underground with Figurines and Cold War Kids. Tapes ‘n’ Tapes are so crazy hot that I’ve never heard a single song by them and you probably haven’t, either, yet they’re still almost instantly recognized as the “It” band of the moment. If last night’s turnout was disappointing (and it was) tonight’s will be on the other end of the spectrum. I’m just saying. Every time I predict a sellout I’m wrong, so I’m not predicting one tonight. $10, 9 p.m.

Saturday night, the homecoming of Little Brazil at Sokol Underground, a make-up show for the gig they missed earlier this year with The Cops, a gig that I’m told they still feel guilty about missing. Methinks they’ll channel that guilt into some kind of weird mega-performance where they’ll attempt to change our personal definition of the word ROCK. Helping them out will be Prospect Avenue and Statistics (no idea who’s backing Denver for tonight’s gig). 9 p.m. $7.

Everything shifts to O’Leaver’s Sunday night for Eagle*Seagull, Connor and Andrew Morgan. If you’ve never caught E*S before, there will be no better time. Strangely, I’ve watched them perform at O’Leaver’s, Sokol and an art gallery and their O’Leaver’s show was hands down the best, even though they barely have room to move on the bar’s “stage.” $5, 9:30 p.m.

Watch for updates/reviews all weekend…

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