July 27, 2011
Triple Rock Social Club
When a band is clearly having as much fun onstage as Handsome Furs were Wednesday night at the Triple Rock, it's hard not to get swept up in that collective enthusiasm and exuberance. And when the music is hitting as hard as it was during their fiery, 55-minute set, it makes for a volatile combination that easily set the small club off and energized the Montreal duo even further, as they delivered a pulsing, dynamic performance that was even hotter than the sweltering summer night outside the club.
Dan Boeckner and Alexei Perry strolled onstage already smiling widely at both the large turnout and the fact that they were playing "one of our favorite cities in America. Seriously, we're so happy to be here." And that affection was clearly mutual, as the emphatic crowd roared their approval throughout the entire breathless performance. The band hit the ground running with a spirited version of "When I Get Back" from their stellar new record, Sound Kapital, and never once let up, delivering a taut, rousing set that drew mainly from the new album.
Boeckner and Perry both seemed quite taken aback by the boisterous support they received from the crowd, causing Alexei to say, "We've had three days off since playing Seattle, and this is a great way to kick-start the tour again." And that break seemed to really energize the band, as they drove through a hyper-accelerated version of "Damage" that steamrolled the swelling crowd, with Boeckner bounding about the stage wildly as Perry did her punk rock pirouettes. But it was the 'Us vs. Them' anthem, "All We Want, Baby, Is Everything" that completely lit the fuse, as the enormous wall of beats and keys gave way to Dan's wailing guitar as the tune finished stridently.
The warm response from the crowd also seemed to spur the band on to be quite convivial and conversational, as Boeckner told the audience of their recent visit to Yellowstone, and getting chased by a buffalo, "Those things don't fuck around." And, after a torrid version of "Memories Of The Future," which found Dan putting down his guitar to focus only on his impassioned vocals, he told us that the song is about, "Going home and finding out nothing has changed. Going home is a good, but nostalgia is a dangerous thing."
After giving a heartfelt shout out to Radio K, and asking us if we could "Get the mayor to turn the Hell off outside," the band tore through a lively, riotous rendition of "What About Us," that featured a mid-song name check of Twin Cities bands that Boeckner identified with, as he gave props to "Hüsker Dü, Sugar, the Replacements, Soul Asylum....maybe not so much, but Prince, Prince, Prince." He also jumped into the crowd to sing the second verse while dancing with the fans. It was a sensational rendition of an absolutely killer song, and the band only built on that momentum with the insistent rhythms and call to arms of "Repatriated," which Boeckner said was about: "Being away from your home, and not wanting to go back. Being comfortable enough to stay away."
A stunning version of "Radio Kaliningrad" was awash in a guitar fuzz and dark, urgent beats, and sadly wound up being only the second song that we would hear from the brilliant Face Control in the set (with nothing coming from Plague Park). As the performance wound down, Boeckner again professed his love for our city, saying: "I would read about what was happening in Minneapolis in my copies of Maximum Rock 'n Roll as a kid in British Columbia, dreaming that one day I'd be able to see the bright lights of this city, and now I have many times. Thank you for your support. This song is called 'Fuck The Police.'" Regrettably, they didn't bust into an N.W.A. cover, but they did end the set with the song of the night, an absolutely massive, throbbing version of "Serve The People," that found Boeckner and Perry switching keyboards and the crowd throwing their hands in the air. Dan eventually grabbed his guitar and added a wailing kick to the end of the incendiary song, which was so forceful that both he and Alexei collapsed on stage afterwords as the screams of the audience rang out amidst the piercing feedback.
The encore ended up being a brief one, as the duo busted out the Sound Kapital bonus track "Agony," which featured Boeckner draping the mic cord around his neck so he could scream away while still shredding on guitar as he stomped around on stage. Despite some members of the crowd being unfamiliar with the song, it still finished the night with a bang. And, after genuinely thanking the crowd one last time, they were off quickly (without playing "No Feelings," sadly--my only complaint of the night). But this stellar show ultimately proved that when a band is as happy to be here as the crowd is to see them play, great things tend to happen.
Critic's Bias: I had seen Handsome Furs play the Entry a couple of times, and while those shows were fantastic, I really identified with Sound Kapital, so I was pleased that 8 of their 10 songs were from that superb record.
The Crowd: Perhaps the heat kept people from dancing as much as they would have otherwise, but they were loud and clearly loved the band.
Overheard In The Crowd: "Damn, they are both hot as fuck."
Random Notebook Dump: As is always the case with the Triple Rock, the sound was spot-on perfect. It's my favorite room in the city.
For more photos: See our full slideshow by Tony Nelson.
When I Get Back
All We Want, Baby, Is Everything
Memories Of The Future
Bury Me Standing
What About Us
Serve The People
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