Fiery Furnaces' Intricate Sound Falls Short in S.F.

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Fiery Furnaces / Photo by Muhammad Asranur
WRITTEN BY
Katy Garlinghouse

Within the ornate walls of San Francisco's Great American Music Hall last night (May 29), the Fiery Furnaces and opener Grand Ole Party seemingly battled head-to-head, each wielding decidedly different sounds -- and two vocalists each with a distinct style.

Warming the crowd with cuts off their debut full-length Humanimals, including highlights "Nasty Habits" and "Gypsy March," Grand Ole Party, though just a trio, sounded like a band of five or six with their complex riffs and spot-on harmonies. Vocalist/drummer Kristin Gundred commanded the audience with her versatile range, as axeman John Paul Labno triumphed with his solos in "Roll on Down." Forecast: Grand Ole Party's days as an opening band are numbered.

With a sound all their town, the brother-sister team of the Fiery Furnaces, a.k.a. Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger, then rolled out a musical adventure full of twists and turns -- some less welcome than others. With each track, including Widow City's "Automatic Husband" and Blueberry Boat's "Straight Street," unexpected distractions and subplots entered, surprising around each sonic bend and ultimately delivering a vastly different sound than that on the band's new 51-track live album, Remember.

The Fiery Furnaces' sound is seasoned, polished, and decidedly unique, and Eleanor's pipes are certainly striking, but next time around Grand Ole Party's powerful, arty renderings should top the bill -- they've earned it.

We asked: Fiery Furnaces, along with their backing band, democratically vote to choose the tunes from their prolific catalogue for each show's set list. If you could cast your vote for anyone on earth to be the President of the United States in '08, who would it be?

Read the fans' answers >>
More photos from this show >>

We Asked: Fiery Furnaces, along with their backing band, democratically vote to choose the tunes from their prolific catalogue for each show's set list. If you could cast your vote for anyone on earth to be the President of the United States in '08, who would it be?

Back to the story >>
More photos from this show >>


Fiery Furnaces / Photo by Muhammad Asranur


Fiery Furnaces / Photo by Muhammad Asranur


Fiery Furnaces / Photo by Muhammad Asranur


Fiery Furnaces / Photo by Muhammad Asranur


Fiery Furnaces / Photo by Muhammad Asranur


Grand Ole Party / Photo by Muhammad Asranur


Grand Ole Party / Photo by Muhammad Asranur


Grand Ole Party / Photo by Muhammad Asranur


Grand Ole Party / Photo by Muhammad Asranur

Back to the story >>
Read the fans' answers >>

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