It was hard to pass up this triple bill for a measly $17, so Rock Club was off to the 930 Club on a sleepy Sunday night. I arrived a bit late, but just in time to catch most of Holy Fuck (I like that I don't need to use that f*cking asterisk).
I saw these guys open for Wolf Parade a few years ago at the Black Cat and once again they didn't disappoint. I will readily admit that I am not a huge fan of live electronic music, but these dudes bring the ruckus. No laptops, just a bunch of keyboards, effects pedals, wires, and other gizmos. They also had a great rhythm section utilizing the traditional drums and bass. Good uptempo music that seemed to get the crowd shaking its ass (just a bit). I also liked the fact that the members of Holy Fuck were hopping around acting like a live band, rather than mere electronic drones. One of the dudes was even playing some keyboard/synth/xylopohone thing with a butter knife, you don't see that too often. Good stuff.Next up were The Fiery Furnaces. I am still trying to figure out how I feel about this band. This is the second time I have seen them live and do have a fondness for some of their studio albums. What I need to know is, are the Fiery Furnaces a shitty band that got hyped up too much my Pitchfork and the like? Are they talented musicians with an avant garde edge? Is Eleanor Freidburger the least attractive female lead we've seen since the Heartless Bastards? I am not sure of the answer to these questions, but I do know that I quite enjoyed their set. I will agree with Jimbromski (who thought they sucked ass) that they have a tendency to screw up the arrangements in a live setting. Songs like "Single Again" and "Tropical Ice-Land" which are quite good (and almost melodic) on disc, were butchered live. However, I enjoyed "Navy Nurse" off of Widow City (which they played heavily from...). Again, they had an amazing rhythm section with included Jason Lowenstein, formally of Sebadoh. The jury is still out on The Fiery Furnaces, despite my overall appreciation of the set.
I will readily admit that my motivation for coming to this show was for the 1st two bands. I am not too familiar with the Super Furry sound, and thanks to Jimbromski for the concert preview and video clip. I was pleasantly surprised after their first couple of songs, which included the upbeat 'Golden Retriever" and I believe some songs off their new album "Hey Venus". The style of music is hard to peg down, as it mixes many genres (pop, psychedelia, a dash of electronica, druggy jams, etc...) but I was particularly smitten by the voice of Gruff Rhys. In my humble musical opinion, I would have to say they were definitely the most talented musicians of the evening. I did find myself losing a bit of interest halfway through the show, as they played a stretch of so-called "power ballads" that slowed things down a bit. However, the final tune of the main set was the excellent 'Receptacle for the Respectable", which included some interesting celery chomping. I enjoyed the encore much more than the main set (I will also admit, I just about left during the power ballad stage), and I am glad I stuck around. They rocked out on "Rings Around the World" and although they didn't don the more traditional wookie outfits, Gruff was kind enough to put on the space helmet to lighten things up. All in all, a good show, strong opening, soft middle, and ended on high note. What more could you ask for on a Sunday night.
Other items of note:
1. Jimbromski wanted me to mention the "Euro-Hippies". I couldn't find a good picture, but imagine a pasty faced skinny dude, long hair, wearing pajama bottoms and a neo-psychedelic shirt. That would be a Euro-Hippie, most likely seen at the Glastonbury, Stonehenge, and the 930 Club for Super Furry Animals.
2. Crowd: The crowd was very appreciative of all three acts (well, maybe not the Fiery Furnaces) and the club seemed pretty full. There was also this Larry Craig lookalike in the front row, totally jamming along with a three bands. The dude had to be like 60 years old. Maybe that will be me someday (I hope not)
3. Annoyances: I am not sure if I have posted about this before, but my favorite spot at the 930 club in on the left side of the balcony, leaning up against the railing and looking straight down on the bands. It is a great spot. There are risers behind the railing that people sit on. Sometimes these folks sit on the risers "saving" their respective spot on the rail, and usually sit for the openers and them move up for the headliner. If you get in front of them they have a fucking conniption and complain that it's their spot. This drives me crazy and happened again at this show (Thankfully, the situation was difused by Chip Chanko). What is your opinion on this matter? I say, if you want to lean against the rail, then you need to stand there all night. No saving, no sitting. It a General Admission show, you need to jockey for position and stay put. Just a rant.
Ratings: Holy Fuck A-, Fiery Furnaces B, Super Furry Animals B+