Gruff Rhys (Super Furry Animals)
Eleanor Friedberger (Fiery Furnaces)
Rockwood Music Hall
Its a new year which of course means lots of new shows. And its easy to judge a year seeing how the first show was.
Well, aside for the fact that I am not a fan of Rockwood Music Hall (for various reasons), it is a great place to see shows. Its small and intimate and seeing a show with maybe 100 other fans is pretty special.
Gruff Rhys definitely does not disappoint live. On stage was just him, a table and a chair. The tables were covered with records and a tiny keyboard along with a few other things. One of the great things about seeing him live is that he really works with the music. He changes things up and makes it interesting if not becoming totally bizarre.
The first song started out with him just putting on a record which he said was Birds from Finland. And sure enough, it was just birds chirping along. He slips on his guitar and starts with the slower songs. As he said, he needed to get these out of the way. “Science & Fiction” was pretty beautiful with just his vocals, a guitar and birds chirping.
Each song was a bit different with other things he’d add to it. He’d wind up a metronome to keep time and you would just hear the click click as it went back and forth before he’d start a song. He always had some funny things to say and was quite funny. He also played a few songs in Welsh, telling us so kindly what he was singing about.
“Candylion” was a definite highlight to the show. As he told a story about a missing CD, which was also on a broken computer, which led to him playing the song with his own 12″ record. With all things crazy, only the first 15 secs of the song had just the drum beats. So he’d start the song on record, sing his vocals, and then he’d have to lift up the needle and go back to the beginning. It was confusing at best, hilarious as hell, and was creative as all get up.
His use of a kids keyboard that lit up when the keys were touched was quite cool. He tried to originally create a song with ‘Gangstas Paradise’ (one of the pre-programmed beats), but ended up using a different beat. His use of playing with sounds, looping his vocals, changing them up and adding his own things to each – really made his music stand out. If anything, Gruff proved to be a hilarious and humble guy and was just having a great time.
Gruff brought along with him Eleanor Friedberger of Fiery Furnaces, a band from NYC that the Super Furries had previously gone on tour with. I knew nothing of them (aside for the fact she used? to date Alex of Franz Ferdinand). Her music was quite good – it was just her and a guitar. She seemed a bit nervous at first but then quickly warmed up to the crowd. She was totally humble and self-deprecating – telling the crowd how she knew we only wanted Gruff. She played some songs of Fiery Furnaces and then some new song she wrote. It was a really short set – maybe 20 mins, but quite enjoyable. Her songs did have the problem in that they werent very distinguishable. Regardless, she was awesome to watch and had a great voice.
All in all – 2 great people – and 1 great night.
Btw – leaving the venue to finding about 20 police surrounding the building and not letting people out of the other doors was pretty crazy. Still trying to figure out if a drug-bust was going down or will it be another LES venue that has doors temporarily shuttered?
Science & Fiction
Shark Ridden Waters
Cryndod Yn Dy Lais (Super Furry Animals B-side)
If We Were Words (We Would Rhyme)
The Court of King Arthur
Gyrru Gyrru Gyrru
Sensations in the Dark
Cycle of Violence
Gwi Mi Wn
Shark Ridden Waters