Friday, November 03, 2006

Dispatch on the Fiery Furnaces

Playing right now: Silence, which is good because I just had my ears blown out by the Fiery Furnaces.

Luckily I found out before it was too late that the Pernice Brothers show is tomorrow, so I didn't have to choose between them and Fiery Furnaces. (The bad news is that I work the closing shift tomorrow at work, so I can't see Joe and Co. FIE!!)

On the other hand, I made it to Mr. Small's to see the Furnaces. Now, the last time they were here, they were a RAWK band. Matthew played guitar, as did Eleanor on a couple songs, and a rhythm section rounded things out. [Matt had some cool stereo effect going where his guitar sound was bouncing between the left and right speakers too.] Tonight, Matthew stuck with a keyboard that looked like some old Vox or Acetone organ. They had both a drummer and percussionist; and ex-Sebadoh member Jason Loewenstein (the bassist on the last tour) was handling guitar duties.

Man, were they tight. The FF's songs have all sorts of twisty-turny melodies to begin with, and to hear a full band play them can be pretty astounding. Everyone was on the same page, making every change together. Not only that, they seemed to segue one song into the next for about 40 minutes straight. My friend Brendan compared it to seeing a rock opera, which is true: There were individual parts, but it kind of seemed like one whole piece. Until they took a breather after the 40-minute mark, the set was all from their latest album Bitter Tea, which I haven't heard yet, so it was all new to me. The only problem was you couldn't discern what Eleanor was singing, but as a person who's been going to shows and dealing with that situation for years, I was fine with it.

Afterwards, Matthew and Eleanor were hovering around the merchandisc table. Actually I was hovering, they were just standing there. They were both really nice and chatty, which I think says a lot for them after such an intense set. (I think they played at least an hour.) One would think they'd need more downtime. Eleanor had been to Whole Foods today and bought some club soda that Matt was drinking. I wonder if we passed each other in the aisle today at all.

The vinyl copy of Bitter Tea was $20, but I couldn't resist. I know I want it. And it has a beautiful cover. So I bought it.

Then I asked Eleanor if Jason was going to come out to talk to people. She brought him out and I had to tell him about my fond Sebadoh memories (see previous installments). He said they're getting back together early next year (WOO HOO!). He was really nice and down to earth, though he still looks like he has a wild gleam in his eyes. His solo album Sixes and Sevens, came out a few years ago and it really should've gotten more attention. It's really heavy and raw, but it has a great sense of melody without sacrificing what's good about either hooks or noise. And he played everything himself. It's not often that you come across an album where one person handles everything and it sounds like a band, with fully realized arrangements. Usually one-person solo = doodle fest.

I gave him the url to this site. I wonder if he'll check it out. Hi, Jason. Make another solo album. I'm sure I'm not the only one who'd dig it.


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