And there are a lot of Fiery Furnaces lyrics.
I just got back from their concert. Ah! So good! It entirely held my attention the whole time, even though I know most of their music. I guess part of that is because it’s at breakneck speed all the time. And sputtered lyrics too fast for the music, and loud and skronky, with meters that don’t make sense and stuff. I mean, it’s not even enjoyable to listen to. But something about them is really quite incredible; something between their lyrics and their musicality and their prolificacy and their straight up weirdness. Don’t get me wrong, they can make a nice tune like anyone (see “Evergreen”, say) but sometimes they just rocket into the far reaches of the world (“Borneo”) or the seas (“Blueberry Boat” and “Quay Cur”), there’s magic (“Duplexes of the Dead”) and bizarre religious practices (“Staring at the Steeple”) and and and … Vietnamese telephone ministries and tropical ice-lands and the Garfield El and … I could go on all night but I’m tired. Listen to them! I recommend “Blueberry Boat” (of course…) and “Bitter Tea”.
But I just diverged into why their recordings are great. I can’t tell you why their live show was great. It was objectively not great listening. But it was like memorizing the dictionary, and then someone picking out a dozen great words. Every time I’d understand what they were playing, it was like “oh hey I remember that song”. Also, they’re crazy. Matthew Friedberger, the guitarist and main songwriter, didn’t say almost anything the whole time, until he urged us to give a “hip hip hooray” for the drummer and the bassist. Eleanor Friedberger, his sister, sort of blankly stared while rambling out way too many lyrics for the syllables she had. And there was this crazy dude in the audience who kept putting up three fingers, then two fingers, then three fingers, as if this was a common dance move.
A+, ladies and gentlemen. A show well played. Off to bed.
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