Thursday, July 21, 2011

Eleanor Friedberger @ the Hideout - 7/20/11

Fresh off a late Spring tour with her brother, the Fiery Furnaces as a duo, Eleanor Friedberger released her first true solo album, "Last Summer", and has hit the road in support. She called the duo tour their "recital", and it really had that type of feel. Just her brother Matt at the keys and Eleanor on vocals as they re-interpreted a selection of music covering more or less their entire catalog.

Last night she hit the stage without the security of a fellow performer and played an interesting mix of album tracks, Fiery Furnaces classics, new tracks that aren't on the album, and even a cover of a Spoon song, which she introduced as a song written by "the guy that licks my face" in the video for her first single "My Mistakes" (below).

The venue was packed and fairly hot, and as a Chicago local (Oak Park, actually), there appeared to be plenty of friends and family in the crowd. Eleanor went the Ted Leo route, a solo act playing an electric guitar. Typically a singer-songwriter playing solo will go acoustic, as the instrument tends to allow the performer to improvise some percussion. With just the electric, all you're getting is the guitar, but in the right hands, it can work. Whereas Ted basically plays his lead guitar parts as if he had a band behind him, Eleanor's set had more of a demo feel, like she was previewing songs that would be fleshed out at some point in the future. Of course, she's already done that on the album, and she announced that she'll be back with a full band "sometime around Halloween".

Like their Schuba's shows earlier this year, the Hideout is a venue that really lends itself well to her personality. She comes off as shy, but funny, and the bits of crowd interaction are really enjoyable. I was a bit surprised that she didn't play more from the new album, but I really look forward to hearing the full band arrangements in the fall.

Setlist - I'm creating my own titles for the new songs:
  • I Won't Fall Apart on You Tonight
  • Scenes From Bensonhurst
  • That Was When I Knew - (new song)
  • My Mistakes
  • Trouble Comes Running - (Spoon cover)
  • Noise in the Distance - (new song)
  • Lost at See - (Fiery Furnaces song)
  • Heaven
  • After Perfection - (new song)
  • Early Earthquakes
  • Tropical Iceland - (Fiery Furnaces song)
  • Inn of the Seventh Ray
  • Trying Not to Stare Into the Sun - (new song)

My Mistakes

I Won't Fall Apart on You Tonight