musical flypaper – New Young Pony Club and Fiery Furnaces

Back in Dec, due to my bizarre knowledge of trivia, I wound up among the wall-to-wall bodies packed into a sweaty firetrap of a photography studio/art space in W’burg called the White Room, listening to the

New Young Pony Club

at the Modular Monthly party. (Um, note to promoter – art space my ass, it’s an friggin’ whitewashed BASEMENT. Maybe get a STAGE next time?)

Modular is an indie record label. I won the tix w/ an answer to some trivia question on I don’t even remember what the question was. (Alas, my head is not so much a well-ordered filing cabinet as a collection of flypaper – stuff just sticks to the various rolls. But not all the flies get caught.)

The basement was packed with the geeks and freaks of w’burg.
There was no coat check, no dance floor, no stage, and one tiny bar at the far end of a U-shaped room.
There were lots of sweaty people with coats, incessant aimless motion sometimes barely aimed toward the bar and sometimes not, and no dancing. Except for one completely tweaked German guy. Of course.

Anyway, I wanted to see these guys. The New Young Pony Club is British – sort of punky, sort of new wave – they’ve been classified as a New Rave band. (According to wikipedia, new rave is an NME term – kind of “a joke that got out of hand.” I’ll buy that.) With a woman drummer and a great lead singer, Tahita Bulmer, NYPC has some decent British buzz, not to mention a myspace profile.

Despite the anomie of the White Room crowd, who chatted and shoved and milled about thru most of the show, coolly checking out each other, each other’s clothes, and each other’s friends – everything but the band, in fact – the show was pretty good. Tahita’s performance was pretty raw – kinda drunk, very loud, very fast.
Here’s video of them from the White Room show doing their ‘hit,’ “Ice Cream”:

Now here’s the official video for that song from Modular:

Now that’s video flypaper – they seem to have caught some flies from nearly every high-concept 80s video ever seen on U-68, especially early hilarious Cars videos and the immortal “Victim of Love” chicks on keyboards. Tahita’s hairstyles alone manage to quote B-52s beehives, Pat Benatar’s perm, and side-of-the-head-shaved punk chicks. (Having worn an asymmetrical hairdo myself in the 80s, I approve of that one.)

Then this past Friday, thanks to a friend, I got to see the Fiery Furnaces at the soon-to-close Northsix. (Yet another firetrap. Let’s just hope I don’t see Great White in one of these places.) What a show – opened with Michael Mayhem and the Mike (Michael Goodman – the Fiery Furnaces new drummer – and some pals. Definite fun!) and Emergency Party – a pretty standard rock ‘n’ roll outfit led by a Jack Black-style singer.

Matt and Eleanor Friedlander are the brother and sister who are the Fiery Furnaces. I saw them open for Wilco at Radio City about a year ago, and wasn’t too impressed. Their stuff sounded difficult and off-putting, without much point. Snippets of all their experimental stuff wound into one long jagged performance. But they were definitely intriguing.

Friday night’s show was GREAT tho’. First off, the sibs have excellent semi-matching haircuts and some crazy energy on stage.

Live and up close, Eleanor immediately calls to mind Patti Smith – the same build, look, and urgency of delivery. The same disregard/regard for the crowd. Maybe a little of that possessed, shaking, fey/shy Girl Interrupted persona, but not too much. And Matt was quite fine – his crazy blue eyes rolling and peeking out from the thick bangs every three minutes or so – was fantastic on the keyboards, conjuring up tasty Farfisa sounds and pounding operatic blasts as needed.

Since the days of the Buttholes, I’ve always been partial to the two-drummer thing. Drummer Michael Goodman on bongos, coconut shells, and more (as well as ‘normal’ drums) was not only the source of my free ticket (Thanks, Mike!) but also a fantastic performer. The Furnaces found him on the web, checking out his site, then calling him from their tour on Australia – and it worked out great.

Both these bands – better live than on CD. Stick that on the flypaper, and get out and enjoy ’em!

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