The Fiery Furnaces
Monday 13th November 2007

fiery furnaces

The Fiery Furnaces, again. This band sort of feels like family now. There are a couple of reasons for this, but none are particularly logical.

I left work. Wandered around. Went to Nude. Walked to Camden. Eleanor walked by me on Camden. Was hanging around outside the Village. She wandered by again. I greeted her as "Miss Friedberger", inadvertently told her she looked lost, then wished her an enjoyable show.

Ran into Alida, then Bernard showed up a little later. We went in.

Whelan's had been done up. Thankfully the stage was the same. The PA seemed the same. They kept all the good bits but made it a little bigger. The paint looked fresh, but that will change. It was still possible to sit on the efge of the stage before the show. I spotted a very small gap and took it. Got chatting with a Chicago Girl.

Fee showed up shortly after. We all made a little camp in our corner of the stage.

Support came on. They were ok. I liked the last song, the rest was splitting me a little. The teenage kids danced around like crazy. The singer liked Fee's glasses. They spoke Dublin but sang North London.

We waited. Fee and I bought Blueberry Boat books. They reminded me of the Williamsburg Colouring Book I got in 2004. Simple A4 stapled pages.

Fee was miffed with Trinity. It seems Trinity College can be Complete Asses about things than any Normal Person would know not to be An Ass about. Fee was expressing her miffedness with Trinity when Mr. Friedberger showed up to prepare his gear. She poked him with her stick and said "Hi". They chatted a little.

The rest of the band showed up. Things kicked off a little later. We were all front row in a venue with virtually no stage/crowd separation. Fee sat on the stage edge (almost underneath Matt) for the entire gig. Our Chicago Friend joined her for a while. Whelan's is nice. It's possibly the only reputable venue that knows it doesn't need a security guy by the stage all the time. The only venue where it's ok to use the stage as a little coat rack, or as a drinks table, or as an improvised seating device.

The Furnaces got straight into it. Sound was great, though we were so close it didn't really matter. It was a mix of stage sound, straight drums and some PA. Eleanor sang with a vigour that had slipped my mind. Her vocals were fantastic. Matt had three synths and no guitar. A little Realistic synth (the moog clone) for the filthy synth sounds, a Korg Organ, and another Korg for electric piano. There was a foot pedal too. No guitar this time, and everything was fine without it. Eleanor didn't play guitar either - last time she had a new strat. The bassist had a bass with a fuzz on it. The drummer was up for it.

So they played through. Like the records, things varied and built, went crazy, went crazier, took it easy, went on a little synth trip, then a big synth trip, then went nuts again. Afterwards I was thankful for how rare and incomparable the Fiery Furnaces could be.

Matt didn't really sing. Unless I missed it.

The crowd were nuts. By far the strangest crowd ever. I'm not sure what Eleanor thought of it, but Matt seemed amused. Maybe the rest of the band were too. Strangest moment was when Matt asked the dancing couple stage right to join the younger dancing couple beside us. This made the girl beside us literally run away. Matt had a momentary awkwardness of "did she really just leave". The other couple, who were technically older than the average attendee, then proceeded to dance their asses off for the rest of the gig. They also did some heavy french-kissing, just to really add to the flavour of the front row.

The other teenagers good work too. They were drunk, and only became drunker. They gradually built a tower of plastic beer pint glasses that ultimately reached over six feet tall. This was constructed on the stage beside Matt's monitor speaker. Eleanor joined in, slightly bewildered. Every now and again one of the teenagers would go off and get more glasses from the crowd. They were casually stepping onto the stage to add glasses. No-one really seemed to mind. Whelan's...

So, they were the things that made the gig great. A very dynamic front row, tower-building hobbies, strangers, people dancing and making out, a young girl attempting to distract Matt with her breasts, Chicago Girls. Everyone seemed really happy. The band played their ferocious wonderful tunes. Eventually they had to go, but not after throwing a few more songs our way. They finished with Chris Michaels.

Even when they did go, they didn't go far. Fee grabbed a setlist from Matt and gave it to me (same as Franz). Eleanor came off stage, I commended her on the show. I was recognised as 'the guy from the street'. Fee invited Matt for a drink and we went next door. We sat around on the stage for a while first. The band put away gear.

Next door we loaded more whiskey and wine. Matt never made it through so Fee went back and said Hi/Bye. They chatted for a bit, I sat next door and chatted with Chicago. Eleanor came over and said bye to me, which was a surprise. A while later Fee came back, Chicago left, then Fee and I left. It was an eventful night.

*The tall blonde kid was the main beer-tower constructer
**I call them kids coz I'm older now - it's a term of endearment
***Eleanor was bought a beer for Restorative Beer - it was the tall blonde kid again, and he strolled on stage to hand it to her
****The Bassist did lead synth for a while with fuzzed high notes
*****Fee sat on the edge of the stage and occasionally beamed at the madness around us
******Navy Nurse - "if there's anything I've had enough of it's today" seemed to fit the shit day Fee had gone through.
*******Does anyone know where Fee's scooter is?

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