The Yummy Fur were formed in the early 1990s in Glasgow,Scotland, and although the band never broke big in the U.S.,they gained an underground following after their 1999 break-up, mainly because of the recent successes of members John McKeown, who fronts the experimental, hook-laden dance-rock band the 1990s, and drummer Paul Thomson and bassist Alex Kapranos, who are now members of Franz Ferdinand.
McKeown was recently urged to reunite the band,and decided on a brief five-show American tour, the second date of which was at the Market Hotel, a DIY venue in Brooklyn, New York’s Bushwick neighborhood, Friday night.
Around midnight, McKeown, Thomson, guitarist Brian McDougal,and bassist Paul Kearney ventured past a barred window echoing the sounds of nearby JMZ trains, to the “stage” an amalgam of rickety floorboards at the tip of an oblong triangular room, with a paint-splattered green floral sheet sloppily obscuring exposed insulation and peeling black paint overhead and launched into a set that would’ve made original fans of the band proud.
The songs were quick and half-shouted, but with no distortion, and the setting was appropriately punk. A speaker on the left side of the stage drifted in and out of function as the Fur played “Kirsty Cooper” and “St John of the Cross,” prompting McKeown, lean and mop-haired in tight jeans and a tiny red-checkered shirt, to remark happily: “I can’t hear a word I’m singing, but what the fuck!”
“The Canadian Flag,” an anthemic tune with a Black Sabbath-like guitar line weaving eerily throughout, showcased Thomson’s drumming chops, and inspired the crowd to sing along.
On “Department,” the Fur false-started, regrouped, and re-launched into the song’s irresistibly well-written angular guitar line.
A stumbling dude who’d been annoying patrons of the packed, hot room as he barreled through the crowd on an apparent mission to, you know, start something finally found success in inciting a vague dance party.
Near the end of their set, around 1:30 AM, the Fur played “Policeman,” a half-humorous, half-serious critique of law enforcement. “That uniform – excellent!” McKeown sang, before expressing his desire to do illegal drugs with a policeman’s girlfriend.
Mopping sweat from his forehead with his shirt, he flashed a quick, shy smile at the crowd, then shook it off before congregating awkwardly with the rest of the band, at center stage with their backs to the audience, with nowhere to go for the obligatory encore waiting period.
A short encore later, and the set ended the way it began — with McKeown and company heading back into the crowd and back to their musical careers post-Yummy Fur.