Upon arriving at the bland, warehouse looking 9:30 Club in Washington D.C. last night, I could already make out the muffled sounds of openers Holy Fuck. Hailing from Toronto, Holy Fuck play a strange mix of electronica that jumps from fast paced, toe tapping techno to experimental noise (although they never lose track of a steady beat that had everyone in the crowd throwing their head back and forth). As we walked in I could hear the familiar jumpy bass of “The Pulse” off of their debut album simply titled LP. At the front of the stage, Brian Borcherdt stood facing across stage Graham Walsh, both armed with a table full of electronic devices, keyboards, wires, you name it. Behind them, Brad Kilpatrick pounded away on the drum set, keeping a steady rhythm and following along with the array electronic noises coming from the front. Next to him, bassist Matt McQuaid followed suit, providing the booming bass lines so crucial for their music. As Borcherdt yelped away on dancey tracks like “Royal Gregory” or the speedy, pounding “Super Inuit,” Walsh answered with bouncy keyboard lines and zainy loops. Other highlights were the epic, crushing “Lovely Allen” and the spastic “Safari.” Overall great set that got everyone in attendance to bob their head and move around.
Next up, The Fiery Furnaces. Just some background for those not familiar, The Fiery Furnaces are a Brooklyn based outfit consisting of brother and sister Eleanor and Matthew Friedberger. While Matthew handles all instrumental duties on record (guitar, piano, drums, bass, lyrics, backing vocals), Eleanor offers the voice of the Fiery Furnaces. They’re known for their long songs, concept albums and playful mix of classical piano, intensely heavy korg sections and guitar based indie pop. Another trademark of their music is Eleanor’s unique vocal delivery. The mix of Cat Power/Patti Smith low vocals and Matthew’s strange, verbose lyrics makes for a most interesting combination. I can also say that Eleanor’s schizophrenic, almost Karen O like stage presence lives up perfectly to her unique vocals, sporting a checkered button down shirt and fiercely pounding her hand on her hip along to the mind boggling tempo and time signature changes of the music behind her. Joining her and Matthew on stage (Matthew played about three or four different Korgs and Keyboards) were Bob D’Amico on drums and Jason Loewenstein on bass, who were both incredible at their instruments and kept up perfectly with Matthew’s speedy piano bursts. Though most of the songs that they played were from their 2007 effort Widow City, the songs were at times unrecognizable. All of them were full of incredibly intense bursts of distorted keyboard and crunchy, overdriven bass, which would abruptly switch back to poppy piano lines without notice.Â The overdrive on Loewenstein’s bass made it sound just like a guitar as he soloed wildly, reminiscent of Death From Above 1979’s Jesse Keeler. “Clear Signal From Cairo,” “Duplexes Of The Dead,” “Japanese Slippers,” “The Philadelphia Grand Jury,” “Blueberry Boat,” “Tropical Ice-Land,” “Single Again,” “Right By Conquest,” “Don’t Dance Her Down,” were all among the songs played, though I’m sure there were a few new ones in there. Fantastic set overall, highly recommended live.
As for the Super Furry Animals, I had never heard a song by them and after watching about four songs of their alternative rock antics, I had decided that I could have probably left it that way and lived my life without missing anything. Apparently they have a pretty big following though, as it was apparent by crowd reaction that most were there to see them but I just didn’t find them very appealing. Their second song “Golden Retriever” was fun though.
Despite the disappointing headliner, still a great show, well worth my 15 dollars. Definitely check this tour out if it’s coming near you. I believe Super Furry Animals are being replaced by A Place To Bury Strangers somewhere along the tour.
From Holy Fuck’s LP:
From The Fiery Furnaces’ Blueberry Boat:
“My Dog Was Lost But Now He’s Found”
From Widow City:
“The Philadelphia Grand Jury”
“Clear Signal From Cairo”