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Fiery Furnaces Halloween Headliners and other bad bad titles

Posted by Nika / November 2, 2006

Fiery Furnaces @ La Tulipe

photos by Hilary Thomson

Life’s kind of funny sometimes. Some people may translate it as coincidence, fate or some may even call it a random sequence of events. Personally, I just call it “lucking out”. I arrived at La Tulipe Tuesday night right when Deerhoof were finishing their last song. “Oops” is right, considering that Montrealers seemed ultimately more interested in the opening Deerhoof show than in the headliners, The Fiery Furnaces. But thanks to Omar, I have been inadvertently saved from having to write a fake Deerhoof review … not that I would ever do that. Ever. Maybe. Probably not.

The singer warned us right away that her voice was “fucked”, apologized for her hoarseness and blasted into a FF.JPGcrazy-long rendition of Bitter Tea that, 20 minutes later, had most of the crowd either preaching to the Church of the Friedberger siblings (Matt and Eleanor) or hastily pulling on coats over their freakish Halloween costumes. Even though The Fiery Furnaces album, Blueberry Boat, was universally canonized by critics and remains one the best indie albums around, this band’s quirky song structure can sometimes be a tough live listen, particularly in a venue that doesn’t have adequate sound quality. Imagine Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention performing through a 30 year-old See & Say and you can understand the trouble we had trying to differentiate the many layers that are The Fiery Furnaces that night.

Nonetheless, original FF fans could easily enjoy the band's zig-zagged pop/rock experiments as well as charismatic rearrangements of tunes like Single Again and Blueberry Boat. The set didn't seem to last all that long; I hardly had time to drink 2 beers before they were announcing their final song of the night. The singer was obviously uncomfortable, grabbing her throat after every wordy verse and even storming off the stage for some tea. She shouldn't have put herself out for us though -- we could hardly hear her over the muddy sound system, her brother's ecstatic mini-organ and that other guy's wailing guitar. As far as I'm concerned, though, given my addiction to their riff-heavy albums, I was disappointed there wasn't even more guitar in the mix. Mind you, the cute 2-song encore performance between just Eleanor and Matt was a lively, almost circus-like surprise. Picture a willowy songstress, wearing a faded oriental dress singing along with a travelling calliope, being cheered on by a mass of people in costumes. How strangely Fellini of them.

Discussion

4 Comments

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