Concert Review: Eleanor Friedberger, Hospitality, May 4, The Garrison

I’ve long been a fan of The Fiery Furnaces yet I’ve never had a chance to see them live. I have, however, seen FF singer Eleanor Friedberger live twice now. The first time was an instore performance at Soundscapes last summer in support of her then just released album, Last Summer. That show was a stripped down solo affair featuring Eleanor alone with an acoustic guitar and acted as a good showcase for the songs, highlighting the strong melodies.  However, I was curious to see how it would sound with a full live band.  Augmented by backing players, would it just end up sounding like Fiery Furnaces? The answer? Sort of but not really. Obviously because she’s the singer, there are going to be similarities, but there are enough differences evident to make this it’s own thing entirely. For this show, Friedberger was backed by a solid three piece band who helped to fill out the sound quite a bit. Especially noticeable were the  guitarist’s somewhat Beatlesque leads throughout the set. 

I feel I would be slightly remiss if I didn’t mention Friedberger’s unique fashion sense. Dressed like she raided a thrift store, or like some kind of cool, ex-hippie elementary school art teacher, she certainly made an impression on stage. And for the record, Eleanor did indeed put her boots on for tonight’s show. 

I was also looking forward to this evening’s openers Hospitality. I had heard a bit of buzz about them, but only having heard a couple songs beforehand, I was going in more or less blind. Not knowing much in advance may have made it all the more impressive as there was an element of discovery at play as well.  Singer/guitarist Amber Papini led the band through a set full of breezy, jangly, and catchy as hell indie pop. Highlights were “Friends Of Friends,” “Argonauts” (which she dedicated to some guy in the audience who told her at the bar that it was his favourite song) and a cover of Steely Dan’s “Ricky Don’t Lose That Number,” which was interesting to me as fellow PM writer Allison had just the day before mentioned how she felt that that song was one of the most annoying to get stuck in your head (I disagreed, noting that I would actually appreciate having said song stuck in my head). It was a weird bit of serendipity for me. For everyone else, I hope they recognized it as a great interpretation of a classic tune. They certainly caught my ear with their performance and made a fan of me that night.

Posted on by Paul in Concerts, Everything

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