The Fiery Furnaces and MGMT

January 23, 2008 § Leave a comment


December 12, 2007 at Great Scott
(MGMT + Fiery Furnaces) x Jonathan = MAGIC

fiery furnaces

by Jonathan Lazzara

Opening for Of Montreal two years ago, MGMT came off like an odd, young version of They Might Be Giants; they were a duo fleshing out falsetto lyrics with drum machine thumps, sticky synths and a lone guitar. Since that time, founders Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden changed to performing live with a full backing band. The results are profound – what two years ago seemed like a joke now feels like a confident and legitimate rock band.


Embodying a new sound which mimics mid 70’s Bowie, present-day weirdos Islands, and benefactors Of Montreal, MGMT gave a performance that consistently pleased and occasionally soared. Crowd favorite “Time To Pretend” sounded bigger and more mockingly epic in its full-band format, and new single “Electric Feels” (go to their site and check the video – seriously) rode a funk-bass backbone and dual guitar solos into greasy dance-pop bliss. Though a few of the newer jams were bogged down by overly ambitious arrangements, the show ended with the crowed pleased and the band exuding a sense of accomplishment. If they follow this trajectory, MGMT could be a band to watch out for.

Considering the recent touring antics of the Fiery Furnaces, which have included everything from adding a tropical percussionist to refitting their melodic album cuts into unrecognizable 30-minute noise jams, Monday night’s show came as a relief. Drawing heavily from their new album, Widow City, the Friedberger siblings kept the renditions short and simple. Many of the album’s more laborious tracks, including “Clear Signal to Cairo” and “My Egyptian Grammer,” were trimmed to reveal their propulsive, swaggering cores. Eleanor provided stunningly crisp vocals on the rapid fire “Automatic Husband,” while bassist Jason Lowensetin and drummer Bob D’Amico kept Matthew’s virtuosic keyboard playing rooted in rhythmic consistency. The band took time to revisit choice moments from past albums, playing a short suite from 2005’s epic “Rehearsing My Choir” and a beautiful rendition of EP’s “Evergreen,” a ballad that goes far in revealing Matthew’s secret adoration of Paul McCartney solo work. At the crowd’s request, the Furnaces ended the show with the delicate waltz “Waiting to Know You,” from 2006’s Bitter Tea, thanking the audience profusely and sticking around late into the evening to sip beer and talk to their adoring fans.

fiery furnaces

(credit where credit’s due: domino postiglione)


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