BRINGING THE HEAT: Sibling duo Eleanor and Matthew Friedburger
The Rev Room brought their first top-tier show of the year with prolific, prog-twee stalwarts, The Fiery Furnaces. Fronted by brother and sister duo Eleanor and Matthew Friedburger, they’ve established themselves as one of the biggest outfits to come out of the last decade, releasing eight rollocking, experimental albums in six years—including a concept album with their grandmother—while racking up quite a mantle of critical plaudits along the way. While these plaudits are, despite my best intentions and numerous attempts, completely beyond me, I decided to check out last night's show anyway.
Given, I wasn’t completely wholesome in my attempt to further comprehend the appeal behind their music. For the most part, I showed up to check out Drug Rug (more on them later) and, most importantly, to simply occupy the same space as Eleanor, the most attractive woman ever to rock a Joey Ramone hair cut and, begrudgingly, the object of my repressed indie-boy’s affection for years.
Moving on, the question is: did I swear off my stubborn ways and finally embrace Fiery Furnaces, joining in with the blogosphere praise choir? Not exactly. But I'll concede that their live shows are much more easy to digest than their unrelentingly marzipan studio stuff. A bit less frantic and a touch stripped down, I could see what brought the out-of-towners out in hordes. Matthew Friedburger is quite the virtuoso on guitar, Eleanor Friedburger really does have pretty fantastic, Mark E. Smith-y lyrics, and unexpectedly (to me, at least) Jason Lowenstein played bass. Anytime you can see a member of the late, great Sebadoh in living color, it’s worth it.
While I’m not going to run out to repurchase “Blueberry Boat” any time soon and Fiery Furnaces will remain a band I totally respect but just don’t really enjoy, seeing them make the uncharacteristically young crowd at Rev Room light up the way they did warmed my old, wrinkled heart by proxy.
With all that being said, I’ve been a fan of last night’s supporting band, Drug Rug for a while now. While they operate under the same country tinged and harmony heavy tent as Dr. Dog and Beachwood Sparks, Drug Rug adds some pretty unbelievable male/female vocals into the mix. (Male/female pop harmonies are always welcome in my ears.)
Upon walking in and expecting a full four-piece, I'll admit that being greeted by a stripped down duo was a bit of a bummer. Then they started playing. It works…really well. The songs translated fantastically and they turned into a grown-up version of the Collins Kids: quite a surprise for a (relatively) old fan like me and, judging from the buzzing about between sets, I think it’s safe to say they won over