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Review Thu Dec 31 2009

Review: Fiery Furnaces @ Schubas, 12/30

Before last night, it'd been over five years since I'd seen Fiery Furnaces. The last time had been such a ramshackle mess that my interest eroded greatly. But a friend of mine recommended I'm Going Away over the summer and said that, even with his previous disappointments in them, it restored his confidence. And I must say I was pleasantly surprised with the abolishment of endless tangents. The album is a streamlined effort that owes more to pop music than psychedelia.

Live, though, they're still all over the place. However, even that isn't as schizophrenic as I remember. (That was apparently just a phase in 2004 anyway.) Songs are actually structured in a similar manner as they are on the albums, but the arrangements have been thrown through... a Fiery Furnaces machine. They're sped up, slowed down, infused with a range of genres, etc. Blueberry Boat highlight "Chris Michaels" ran the gamut across styles and garnered a favorable applause from the engaged sellout crowd. Sometimes a tempo can alert the crowd what's being played, but often I found myself waiting for lyrics or a specific hook before acknowledging recognition. New songs were the majority of the 50-minute set (with a half-hour fake encore). Eleanor sang with an aptitude I didn't realize she'd acquired and Matthew practically hid in a shadowy corner while reeling off an array of slick riffs and licks as they tackled all sorts of times. (Multiple times through the show I noticed someone in front of me counting off to figure out a time signature.) As the show drew to a close with "Single Again" and "Tropical Ice-Land", it became clear that, even without any keys all night, the band had still managed to stay within their sound and bring a lot of worthwhile improvisation. Consider this fan a changed man. (Also, I must mention how nice Schubas looked with wreaths and garland sprawling the doorways and walls. They should decorate for every holiday.)

Last night was the first of the Fiery Furnaces' year-end run in Chicago. Tonight is the other half at Lincoln Hall. Los Angeles' Cryptacize and Chicago's Smith Westerns open at 9PM. The show's 21+ and will be $25 at the door.

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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