Live Review short: The Fiery Furnaces

The Fiery Furnaces
Webster Hall, NYC
June 29, 2006
By David Chiu

If you think the Fiery Furnaces sound wildly eclectic on record, check them out live.The Brooklyn-based indie rock brother-sister duo of Eleanor and Matthew Friedberger recently played at New York’s Webster Hall with a more stripped down rock and roll approach to their music as opposed to the intricate, meticulously produced sound of their albums. Although I was only able to stay for an hour, it was quite a lot of music to take in. With Jason Lowenstein on bass and Bob D’Amico on drums, the Friedbergers performed songs that somewhat like the originals go off on tangents and dramatically shift in tempo with a punkish aggression. Even songs such as “I’m In No Mood” and “Teach Me Sweetheart” off of their latest album Bitter Tea were rearranged to sound more spontaneous (if their music isn’t already). Matthew Friedberger anchored the music through his electric guitar playing; his sister Eleanor ably keeps up with music’s frenetic pace through her subtle yet tense vocals—at times she sounds and even looks like Patti Smith; and the section of Lowenstein and (especially) D’Amico provided the music’s bombast. One thing that can be said about the show: The music may go on divergent paths but the Furnaces keep things exciting.


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