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Handsome Furs, Toronto Canada (12-21-07) Print E-mail
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Contributed by Chimera   
Jan 05, 2008 at 10:45 AM
Review: Handsome Furs, Toronto Canada (12-21-07)

Furs Revitalize Underground Rock Scene

The short and sweet of it: what the Velvet Underground Scene must have felt like. Going to see indie rock bands break out of the well-known music mold in one of the few remaining dingy rock clubs is what concert hopping is all about.

The Montreal duo of the Handsome Furs came to Toronto with a fervor few have seen in today's music scene. With nothing but a guitar and a drum machine housing all of their collected music from their debut album, "Plague Park", Dan Boeckner and wife Alexei Perry graced the stage of Toronto's dance/concert club Lee's Palace to unleash their last concert of the year in a city most Montrealers consider enemy territory. Ironically, in the words of Boeckner, Toronto gives them the warmest welcome and the most energy.

To say that the Handsome Furs are a indie project just peaking into existence is not a stretch of description. They came to be in the summer of 2005 with nothing but an idea to deconstruct the packaged product of manufactured music back down to it's barest and most minimalist form with nothing but vocals, guitar and a drum machine. This idea mirrors their love/hate fascination for the clutterness of city life while still maintaining an idea of existence within it. Dan Boeckner still keeps in touch with manufactured music through association of his other band projects Wolf Parade and before that Atlas Strategic, while Alexei Perry pays the bills as a writer.

The downside of going to a small club concert is the wait factor due to the fact that optimal real estate is few and far between with only 10 bar stools to park your tush on, so you had to get there early to get the best seat. That being said, drink in hand to pass the time while gabbing about what was about to ensue in a matter of the next 2 hours made time go by a bit faster. When the Furs finally took stage after a very melancholic opener, everyone was very drunk and very ready to get drum-beated. Boeckner and Perry came onto the stage with happy energy that seem to permeate the room; you knew they were ready to give a good show waving to the crowd signaling that it was time to rock.

Practically every song on "Plague Park" was played to the crowd's content, a refreshing turn around as they had their tour in Europe before even having an album to speak of. They played fan favourites "What We Had", "Snakes on the Ladder", "Sing! Captain", "Dead + Rural" with a humourous caveat about their song "Handsome Furs Hate This City" letting the almost sold-out crowd know that the song wasn't about Toronto, but rather about Vancouver. It seems as the 2010 Winter Olympic games loom on the 'Couve, the once laid-back, yoga loving city is now turning into a concrete battlefield and sponsor driven city where one quickly can lose themselves in a monolith of commercialism. Still, somehow that messages brings the song more to life and brought more meaning to the background beats than originally thought. The intensity of the energy already present in the room was built up to the breaking point with every song played. Boeckner wailed on his guitar while Perry seemed to be in a trance-like state manipulating her drum machine.

At the end of it all everyone was given a night of what indie rock feels like. It's about feeling the vibrations of the music through your body in a non-judgemental fashion while still enjoying the the possibility of being broken. The theme of the night was to get away from the city or the country and coming together in the middle of the confusion of our urban and rural settings in one room, together; enjoying the simple fact of music.


-Overall Rating: [A]

-Sound and Acoustics: [C+] (Little club + big amps + really drunk loud guys equal loud.)

-Ambience: [A] (Can't say being cramped in a little room isn't fun.)

-Lighting and Effects: [C-] (Only light was the stage floods. No effects here.)

-Security: [A+] (Gotta love the lax of club security.)

-Price and Merchandise: [B] (Only a few shirts and accessories, but moderately priced.)

-This is the new Velvet Underground: Priceless, for everything else become an iTunes robot like everyone else.

Written and Reviewed By: Kay (Chimera)
CrystalOne Radio
Last Updated ( Jan 23, 2008 at 06:15 PM )
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