Review: The Fiery Furnaces - Majestic Theatre

The Fiery Furnaces put on a captivating, guitar-driven show that kept the crowd at the Majestic Theatre engaged and wanting more from the Brooklyn-based indie rockers. Known for experimentation and total reworking of their recorded material, brother and sister Mathew and Eleanor Friedburger did not disappoint.

The stripped down four-piece band approach with Eleanor all alone on lead vocals worked very well, thank you. The sparse, edgy guitar was filled in perfectly with a thick bass line and punchy drums. You would have never known that keyboards were part of the latest album because the new versions of the songs were done so well. Eleanor reminded me of a punkish Patti Smith as she sang with an impressive vocal delivery.

The Fiery Furnaces at the Majestic

The entire week before the show the music blogosphere was filled with wild accusations that Mathew Friedburger had dismissed Radio Head in an interview, starting a feud between the Fiery Furnaces and the alternative darlings from England. I was expecting some type of comment from the band on the controversy as the set progressed, but surprisingly nothing was mentioned.

Looking for a local Madison angle to the show? Mathew and Eleanor Friedburger grew up in Oak Park, Illinois, just outside Chicago and provided this story about the UW-Madison Union, “My earliest memories of Madison were when I was 15 and my brother played at the Union with his band,” said Eleanor sheepishly between songs. “I got really drunk and woke up the next morning with my pants undone, but nothing bad happened.”

It was really invigorating to see a band completely rework their album material into a fresh interpretation that not only works live, but helps keep the spontaneous, in the moment feeling intact during a long tour. 

Duplexes of the Dead Live Board Mix - The Fiery Furnaces

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