I Think I Owe You Three Concert Reviews

Well, since August (cough…I know!), I’ve been able to hit up a few shows…all were very good, and one was amazing. The three shows that I’ll be reviewing are Cold Cave with Austra, Bon Iver, and the Handsome Furs.

A crappy cell phone pic of Bon Iver


Cold Cave & Austra @ The Firebird – 08.01.11

So, if you recall my last mega concert post, I had a review of Cold Cave when they played at The Luminary. Their set was very short, 7 songs…sigh…but it was full of energy. I really didn’t know what hit me, so I decided to give them another shot when they played at the Firebird in August. But first…

Austra tooks the stage and was incredible, they really can get the crowd moving…gyrating…swaying. It helps that the band has three very attractive female members, all with gorgeous voices. Well they definitely turned my head and when they played “Beat And The Pulse“…well…I just smiled. No matter how short Cold Cave’s set was going to be, I got my money’s worth seeing Austra.

Cold Cave came on next and just blew the roof off. Fast, Loud, Noisy and just giving you everything they have…but once again had to cut their set short due to instrument malfunction. They did get in more than 7 songs this time. I think I counted 9 or 10. I did get the opportunity to talk to the band after the show, and their equipment did malfunction…or so they said. I asked them about their set length. They agreed that it was a short set, but they usually play for about 45 minutes. Not a big deal, I found that pretty common when reading some of their reviews from other cities. What really blew me away was that we both had a love for noise band from Providence. The funny part of the night was when the lead singer, Wesley Eisold, told me “I didn’t know Midwesterners liked noise bands…” Ouch. This is why we can’t have nice things in St. Louis.  I later found out that Dominick Fernow, of Cold Cave, has a noise band called Prurient that I need to check out…honestly, I don’t know how I missed him, he’s been playing for 10 years.

Overall, Cold Cave was better the 2nd time around, and I’d catch them again. The real bonus was catching Austra in the same show. Divine.


Bon Iver @ The Pageant – 09.11.11

Nothing like going to a concert on the 10th anniversary of September 11th…

As I was entering the Pageant for Bon Iver, I thought “Man, I’ve had a rough day…now it’s time to relax with some drinks and the soothing sounds of Bon Iver”…oh man I was wrong, but it felt so good. I really didn’t know how he would translate to a larger venue, but he surprised me with a twist. A mini-orchestra…nine pieces, to be exact, to help amplify his softness…into a brilliant, and sometimes chaotic, version of himself.

Many people wouldn’t care for such a transformation, but I ate it up. Bon Iver seemed to transform from a caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly set on fire. It was amazing, to say the least…but what struck me the most was how beautiful and gripping his songs still were. It made me appreciate the artist instead of the musician. I think we all know how “good” Bon Iver is…but after seeing him that night, I really understood his brilliance. There is a lot going on upstairs…and to see it translate to the live stage was breathtaking.

Set List (via RFT):

Minnesota, WI
Creature Fear
Hinnom, TX
Blood Bank
Re: Stacks
For Emma
Wolves (Act I and II)
Skinny Love

The only downside was the crowd again…well, part of the crowd. Usually at larger venues, you have concert goers who just go because it’s the place to be that night. “I was so happy he played Skinny Love…” was a common phrase that night. If you could see past the ignorance (I’m not saying “Skinny Love” is bad), you saw an artist with his heart exploding on stage.


Handsome Furs @ Off Broadway – 08.24.11

Ok, I’m doing these concert reviews out of order…but it’s for a good reason. I’m tackling the Handsome Furs last because…well…it’s the best concert I think I’ve seen in 2011. Hands down…blew me away. Is there anything Dan Boeckner does that isn’t awesome? Wolf Parade and Handsome Furs are two of my favorite bands over the last 10 years. I mean, they’re on the Sub Pop label…everything is awesome on the Sub Pop label (Fleet Foxes, Foals, Beach House, The Postal Service, Flight of the Conchords, No Age, Wolf Parade and The Shins to name a few). But enough about Sub Pop…on to Handsome Furs…

Have you ever seen a band that opened up their heart and gave everything they had to the crowd, only to have the crowd open up and give it all back, which then made them give even more? I have and it was at the Handsome Furs concert. It was a medium sized crowd at Off Broadway, which was nice. I’m not slammed against the wall, and more importantly I can make it to the bar. I made it to the show in between sets, so I missed the opening bands…err…sorry?  Anyways, when Boeckner took the stage, I got pretty excited. Both he and his wife Alexei seemed to be in really good spirits…and they were. I’ve told you before about the energy that Cold Cave expounds during a show…well Cold Cave ain’t got shit on the Handsome Furs. The amount of dancing that Alexei did that night left her breathless on the stage a number of times It may have been more for dramatic effect…but hell, I would have fallen down a number of times to rest too. They exploded through their synth pop set, but paused a number of times to discuss how awesome a night they were having, and how grateful they were to everyone coming out to the show. It was pure happiness leaving their bodies…I don’t think I’ve ever seen that happen from a band at a concert. I think at one point of the night, they said that this is what they were hoping for when they started the band…rocking out with adoring fans? Yeah, that must be pretty fucking cool.

Setlist (via RFT)

When I Get Back
All We Want, Baby, Is Everything
Memories of the Future
Bury Me Standing
What About Us?
Radio Kaliningrad
Serve The People
Legal Tender


I’m off to see Lucero (it’s becoming an annual show) with some friends this weekend…but even bigger news is that Radiohead is touring, and I got floor seats to see them in March! I’ll let you know more about that later.



About fuzzywuzzy

Music Addict

Posted on December 6, 2011, in Concert Reviews, Music and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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