The Fiery Furnaces - The Barfly, Liverpool 17/02/04. - Live Review

Fiery Furnaces
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The Fiery Furnaces - The Barfly, Liverpool 17/02/04. - Live Review

The Fiery Furnaces
The Barfly, Liverpool 17/02/04.

It would be cheesy to say that the siblings Matt & Eleanor Friederberger from the windy city (now residing in New York) blew away the initially intrigued, then buzzing, then satisfied Barfly crowd, but that is a precise recollection of what they and their band The Fiery Furnaces accomplished. Eleanor is the antithesis of Karen O and Brodie Dalle; mysterious, soulful, natural and 100% genuine. Her Patti Smith and hint of Tori Amos vocals, coupled with her coy good looks and enthusiasm mixed with Matt’s laid back demeanour, as well his talented guitar and keyboard musical accompaniment, ensured that the bar workers had a

Music - The Fiery Furnaces - The Barfly, Liverpool 17/02/04. - Live Review

well deserved hour and a bit long break. This was while brother and sister and company made their way through shortened album tracks such as ‘Leaky Tunnel’, ‘Up In The North’ as well as a new pop, tarted up version of ‘Tropical Iceland’ (released 23/02/04), enabling them to freshen up their set with impressive unreleased bluesy rock corkers, such as ‘Broke Mind’ and the ode religious enlightenment that is ‘My Dog Was Lost But Now He Is Found’. The Furnaces, kept the crowd on their toes with their ability to swing from deep and mysterious like ‘Crystal Clear’ and ‘Inca Rag, Name Game’ to simple and succinct as in ‘Spanio/Single’, where they happily dispersed home truths as candidly as my old grandmother used to;

“I’m wishin’ I was single again,
When I was single my pockets did jingle.
Oh, I’m wishin’ I was single again.”

The diversity of The Fiery Furnaces was shown in the encore when just Matt & Eleanor returned to complete three impressive stripped down tracks, with a mere keyboard accompaniment. ‘Rub-Alcohol Blues’ was the highlight, a typical sombre blues track showing the band at their simplistic best. There was something niggling at the back of my mind as I vacated the venue. It was only when I returned to the train station and saw an ostentatious and out of date poster advertising the NME tour that I realised what is so refreshing about tonight’s set. Tracks that had been previously released had been revamped and bought to life in a live environment. Despite having released a sixteen track stonker of a debut album; ‘Gallowbird’s Bark’ there was such depth and quality to the material utilised, with a healthy share of the set list being completely new to most. This is why The Furnaces weren’t playing in an oversized venue tonight because are furnished with the knowledge and belief to adopt the refreshing ‘REM’ approach to recognition. Bland posters were not needed and Eleanor did not need to slag off Kelly Osbourne, or have been married to a famous punk to convince people to buy tickets to the gig. To avoid ending this on a sour note I shall stop this rant now and say thanks guys for a refreshingly entertaining evening!

Fiery Furnaces: Gallowbird's Bark - Album Review

David Adair

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