Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Handsome Furs at the Belly Up Tavern, 1/15/12

I am not, by nature, a dancer. That must come as a great shock to anyone who actually knows me, I'm sure, but it's true. But every so often I stumble upon a band that brings it out of me, and Handsome Furs is the latest version of that band. Of course, I got extremely sick and lacked the energy to do much more than shake back and forth in place like someone having a fit while standing in wet cement, thereby undercutting the entire premise of this review, but that's hardly the band's fault.

Consisting of Dan Boeckner (late of Wolf Parade) and his wife Alexei Perry, Handsome Furs sound like the soundtrack to that 80's movie that you always wanted to be your life. Synth-happy and dance-crazy, most of their songs are pure distilled joy, and the whole thing is held together by Boeckner's stadium filling voice. On this night, though, he only had to reach back to the bar at the Belly Up, and he was more than equal to the task. 

Focusing heavily on last year's fantastic Sound Kapital, the happy couple bounced and kicked and swayed through a too-short eleven song set. Normally drum machines leave me cold in a live setting, being the strict traditionalist I am, but they sounded great here, with Perry's keyboards dancing all over them.

Perhaps even more than the infectiousness of the music, the couple's chemistry really made the performance feel like a celebration: of them; of us; of life. And before you point out how corny that sounds, I'll preemptively agree, but that doesn't make it less true. Boeckner and Perry make rocking out the most romantic thing in the world, and what's not to love about that?

Set List: When I Get Back / Damage / All We Want, Baby, is Everything / Memories of the Future / Bury Me Standing / What About Us / Repatriated / (Older song I didn't know) / Serve the People

Encore: Legal Tender / (Another older song I didn't recognize)

Photo by Monti Smith, courtesy of Indie Rock Reviews


Jessa Hills said...

Was also at this show, pure awesome sauce. Super bummed they are no longer a thing...

Hatfield said...

Hey Jessa! How did you stumble upon my neglected corner of the Internet?

Yeah, it's a shame. I could never find any concrete info on why they broke up, though I know some dates had been canceled due to unspecified health issues. Do you happen to know?

It's not a perfect substitute, but Dan's new project with Britt Daniel of Spoon, Divine Fits, just released a really good record. If you like Handsome Furs it's a safe bet you'll like at least half of it.