finally I see the futureheads (parenthesis are used in this article; as are hypens)

the futureheads, man in gray @ pianos june 18

thanks to an interesting bulletin posted tuesday evening (or was it the morning?), I learned that brooklynvegan’s as-of-like-a-week-ago-when-neko-case-played “rock n’ rofl” events at piano’s was to feature my longtime favorites, the futureheads.  not being able to get a ticket at the bowery (no thanks 40 dollar scalper–there probably weren’t “front row seats” available anyhow), I leapt at the chance to catch them in their intimate setting, plus get some comedy and free beers in.

let me go back to when I said the futureheads were longtime favorites:  from their initial inception into US indie culture (in this case “first day” on mtvu) three years ago, I have been firm supporters of the band.  I would sneak tracks on mixtapes, blare them in my car; they started out the second disc to my 21st birthday soundtrack (the first disc went to radiohead, give me a break).  I used to describe them as “a new-school oingo boingo with less new wave and more barbershop quartet.”

but by then, the o.c. had gotten ahold of it and played “decent days and nights” (and debaser!) and all the kids loved “hounds of love” and then “news & tributes” came out and everybody abandoned the futureheads except me.  it wasn’t the s/t, which is good–if I band plays the exact same way they did on their first record, it shows that there was nothing to be alarmed about in the first place (file under the arctic monkeys, the strokes).  “news & tributes” showed a band ready to come out of its shell and explore the world around it–whereas the s/t was the atomic bomb, “news & tributes” was the reconnaissance crew, learning things in the aftermath.  it was expected and appreciated.

newest album, just released a week ago stateside, “this is not the world,” revisits both territories covered, examine what worked (the raw tenacity of the first album & the musicality of the second) and what didn’t (indulgences “return of the beserker,” “danger of the water;” insipid lyrics like that of “stupid and shallow”), and refines out a happy medium that is at once new and familiar.  they have understood what they need to do to succeed and have jotted down the formula–now, if they want to do a rock opera with my chemical romance, it’ll be okay, because I know that they’ll still have the formula for rocking handy.

but anyhow, lived in indiana and never got a chance to see them.  now I did.  luckily, I got to sit through three excellent comedians and a fantastic opening band, brooklyn’s own man in gray, who just played their last show on thursday.  it’s a damn shame for us all that they did.

man in gray was a band that did not fuck around.  they played gritty, aggresive post-punk, whipping lyrics and chords at their audience like wet towels in locker rooms.  there were no synthesizers.  there was no dubstep breaks.  there was screaming, wrapping-of-mics-around-necks-like-impractical-nooses, sleater-kinney vocal patterns, hihat-snare-hihat-bass rock.  they commanded attention and duly received it.  plus, the bass player was very nice and apologetic when he accidentally leaned to far forward causing mic feedback.  it’s this interesting edge that most brooklyn bands teeter on, incidentally–professionally engaged in their work but likable and gracious.

the futureheads took to the stage after a drunken introduction by what was presumably a brooklynvegan staff member (I blame him not–the free kronenbourgs were still available at this point).  they were the pinnacle of class–being born of after-school get-off-drugs programs and being accepted by indie rock culture at large could give a band unprecedented ego, but the futureheads have matured.  they are above this.  they just wanted to come out, play a few songs, make a few jokes with the audience, and then maybe get back to drinking afterwards and singing songs and joking with the audience.  it’s like they didn’t even have to get up there–they just did so because they like playing music.

they played an incredible assortment of songs for such a short amount of time (a little over an hour), they played mostly faster material, getting the crowd amplified and ready to continue their night of drinking, moving through material from all three discs.  Highlight was certainly about twelve songs in’s rendition of “meantime;” in truth, it was just as vibrant and direct as it was three years ago, when I was eighteen, before I drank way too much beer, and that makes me think, “shit, man–this is a band that has motherfuckin’ legs.” 


One Response to “finally I see the futureheads (parenthesis are used in this article; as are hypens)”

  1. Your blog is interesting!

    Keep up the good work!

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