Tuesday, October 11th, 2005

Blueberry Boat

Can I let you in on a little secret? I don’t really like The Fiery Furnaces. I have a couple of their records and find them perplexing and fascinating and artistically audacious, but enjoyable? I dunno about that. Some of it I like, some of it I don’t. Their new album, Rehearsing My Choir, I couldn’t take. That’s great that they’re bonding with grandma and creating something undeniably unique, but I found it damn near unlistenable.

So what, praytell, was I doing at Lee’s Palace last night seeing The Fiery Furnaces live? Well, as I understood it, no matter what you thought of the Furnaces on record, you had to see them live, if just for the spectacle. And I’m all about spectacle. Unfortunately, spectacle was in short order last night. Splitting the set between older material and the new stuff probably prevented them from doing the non-stop medley thing I’d heard so much about – or maybe they’re just over that. The energy onstage was also lessened by the fact that Eleanor Friedberger was nursing a bad cold – as it was, I give her full marks for making it through the hour and a half-long set, she was looking rough up there.

I have to say, I like the Fiery Furnaces quite a bit more live than I do on album. What can come across as overly artsy and precious on record gets a good dose of frantic energy in the live setting, making their rather unique carnival-punk a lot easier to get into. Even the Rehearsing My Choir material was a lot more enjoyable without their grandmother singing the material. The crowd seemed to dig the new stuff but then they were hearing Eleanor sing it… we’ll see how they like the actual album when it comes out later this month. I know some people who have heard the album and love Gramma Sanatos, but I suspect Fiery Furnaces fans are probably a little more inherently eccentric in what they do and don’t dig. But I digress. The Choir stuff was sandwiched between big chunks of Blueberry Boat and Gallowsbird Bark material, which naturally were the crowd pleasers, even when they were musically inverted in their live incarnations. Despite Eleanor’s sorry physical state – you felt sorry watching her struggle through the set – they still came out and performed an encore nearly half as long as the main one. So maybe not the spectacle I was hoping for, but still definitely a good show.

I showed up late and missed the ubiquitous Apostle Of Hustle, who opened things up. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen Mr Whiteman’s outfit live without ever actually making an effort, so I’m sure I’ll catch him another time. Another consequence of being fashionably late was getting stuck fairly far back from the stage – thus the photos are nothing to write home about. Oh well, can’t win ’em all.

JAM! talks to Feist in advance of a show in her hometown of Calgary and she reveals a bit about her plans for both a live record and new studio album in 2006.

Paste follows My Morning Jacket on the road and through the making of Z. I may have been ambievalent about Z in my post last week, but the critics are more convinced about its greatness.

A dose of Death Cab – interviews with The A/V Club and New City Chicago. Links via Largehearted Boy.

Pitchfork reviews the second series of the Directors Label DVDs. Though I’m not the biggest fan of many of the artists these directors have done work for, you don’t necessarily have to like the music to appreciate the films. Check out the trailer for the new DVDs here.

Metacritic is now collecting TV reviews! Thanks to the newly independent My Mean Magpie for the tip.

A recent study on national personalities shakes a fundamental pillar of the Canadian identity to its very core – Canadians aren’t nicer than Americans.

np – Trespassers William / Different Stars

By : Frank Yang at 9:04 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. LF says:

    Feist is so hot !!!

  2. John says:

    Amen on the Fiery Furnaces. Ambitious? Yes. Listenable? Not often. Just because something is challenging doesn’t mean it’s good. Always seemed a case of the emperor’s new clothes. It will be even more so now; how do you dis someone’s grandma?

  3. Carla says:

    Not too impressed with their choice of directors this time around for the second set of Directors Label DVDs (save for Jonathan Glazer who’s done some decent stuff). I’m surprised they haven’t considered doing one on the highly talented Floria Sigismondi.

  4. solace says:

    Rehearsing My Choir is god awful, you’re totally right on that.

    i actually sold off my promo already, oops?

  5. mishie says:

    i’ve seen the fiery furnaces live before and they leave little to be desired. i just don’t get it.

  6. horace says:

    i’m kinda with mishie. they put on a pretty good show.

    Frank, the new record is crap, but you don’t mention their best work, EP. did they play any of it? as their least challenging work of beautiful pop songs, these and a few songs from Gallowsbird came off very well live when i saw them.

  7. Matt says:

    big fan of the fiery furnaces work here but last nights show was awful, it was fustrating watching eleanor on stage, she couldnt sing, the show shouldve been cancelled, and the new bassist leaves a lot to be desired.

  8. punky! says:

    I don’t buy the hype about the FF either. Although I do really enjoy the song "Single Again". You may very well too. :)

  9. LF says:

    Don’t believe the hype about FF.

    Besides we should be talking about

    how smoking hot Feist is.

  10. Matt says:

    eleanor friedberge is much hotter than leslie feist

  11. LF says:

    Matt are you saying you would

    kick Feist out of your bed?

  12. kristen says:

    my secret is that i’m not all that impressed with the arcade fire