Thursday, June 19, 2008

Fiery Furnaces, 5/30/08, Spaceland, Los Angeles, CA

Well, I've finally gotten around to posting pictures on my blog, after almost three years of missed opportunities. There could have been so many better concert photos from the past if livejournal had allowed me to post pictures, but now, those are all too far in the past to make any fuss about. Also, none of these photos are particularly worth making a fuss about.

This is the second time I saw Fiery Furnaces in L.A., and the fourth time I saw them period (the first being an opening gig for the Shins at the NYU Mystery concert in 09/04, the second being "rock band" version at Metro in Chicago sometime in 2006 or 2007--I honestly can't remember--and the third being the "normal" version at Troubadour in 10/07). In their "rock band" version they were at their peak--though many found this set up disorienting. Bitter Tea was not as strong a record as Blueberry Boat and to have the Friedberger siblings rip through old nine-minute-sagas in updated two or three minute formats was more of a gamble than most bands nowadays are willing to take. Also, Jason Loewenstein played bass for them at both the show at Metro and the show at Troubadour. However, while this was a standard quality Fiery Furnaces show, it was not the best I had ever seen them, but it was probably better than the show at Troubadour. The only difference being it was the first time I saw Eleanor Friedberger play guitar. She played for about half the songs and she was a very able frontwoman. They opened up their set with the 1-2-3 punch of "Duplexes of the Dead"/"Automatic Husband"/"Ex-Guru," showcasing the strongest movement off of last year's Widow City.

Apparently there is a new Fiery Furnaces album coming out soon, but there is also a contest up on their website to name what I believe is the album after that. There were like fifteen possible album titles you could choose from, and with that came the style of record it was supposed to be. I thought it was the coolest thing a band had done for their fans--to ask them how they want their next record to sound--though it might mean they are out of ideas. I voted for the "Archer Ave" album, which was supposed to be a Chicago Fall album, meaning an album about Chicago, but also like a Fall record, in particular wanting to use a two-drummer set-up as in the Fall's early 1980's lineup. Just the fact that this was an option shows how much better the Fiery Furnaces are than all other bands. Most bands don't know the Fall, but they are willing to make an album sound like the Fall--and Eleanor singing like MES would probably be one of the greatest (and most hilarious) things ever heard.

I even got pictures of the opening bands. The first one was passable, and I forgot who I compared them to to my friend. They were slightly boring but they made their set breezy.

The second opening band was one of the weirdest formats I've ever seen, with a girl who sounded a bit like Karen O drumming on the front of the stage and singing. It was like she was chained behind the drums. It was not as breezy a set as the first one.
Picture Legend
Top: Eleanor playing guitar
Middle: Weird 2nd opening band with drumming frontwoman
Last: Eleanor singing

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