Last Night The Fiery Furnaces @ The Crocodile Cafe
posted by October 17 at 12:46 PMon
Which Fiery Furnaces would show up in Seattle? It’s a question worth asking before every gig by the siblings Friedberger; as if the band’s albums weren’t dizzying and varied enough, older brother and main songwriter Matthew seems to rearrange the night’s songs in whatever motif suits him at the time. I’ve seen him go for organ-crazy carnie mode, Shuggie Otis-throwback soul and even plain ol’ hard rock, and their love for live rearrangements is a big reason why I think they’re among the best touring bands in the nation.
Last night, Matthew’s bandmates were just as curious—if not clueless—as the crowd in terms of expectations. The night’s theme turned out to be black new-wave—I could hear big similarities to bands like Memphis’ Lost Souls in the Cars-meets-Sabbath approach, like when old hit “Birdie Brain” became a grinding, synthy take on “Iron Man.” Countless times, the rhythm section locked eyes with Matthew, as if they’d never rehearsed these dizzying, complex shifts (a frightening thought, given how perfectly the bass and drums held up their end of the deal)…or as if Matthew was being a Chuck Berry-level asshole and changing songs on the fly as he saw fit. A brief griping match between Matthew and his lead-singing sister Eleanor seemed to imply the latter, but the gig was only made better by the tension. Enjoy a 7-minute sample below.