First, some kvetching.
It's official; the second season of Deadwood now makes NO SENSE WHATSOEVER.
Normally whatever cloudy state my mind is in from watching the aforementioned show can be helped by watching the very entertaining Boston Legal on ABC at 10, but the latter is on an all too long hiatus to make room for Grey's Anatomy, which SUCKS. Imagine Scrubs, except not spine-splittingly funny, overlong, and melodramatic. Supposedly Boston Legal is going to take a Monday night slot when it comes back later this month. Not the worst of ideas....nothing worth watching on Mondays otherwise, and seldom any baseball games.
Finally, I just learned that the Coney Island Siren Festival is on Saturday July 16th. I'm a groomsman in a wedding on the 16th. This is the danger of having "friends" who don't listen to good music.
Now for some good news. The Mets finally played a game this season that didn't suck. Pedro Martinez would appear to be 4 Real, pitching a complete game 2-hitter with 9 K's. It was almost for naught; aging starter, turned closer, turned starter John Smoltz struck out 15 (!) Amazin's and gave up no runs until the floodgates opened with a Carlos Beltran dinger in the 8th, followed by the same from Cliff Floyd and David Wright.
John Smoltz is one of the few members of the Atlanta Braves who I can't really say I dislike. He loves the game, is well-spoken, and is a shoe-in for an ESPN 'Baseball Tonight' job when he decides to call it quits. Still, anyone who goes on record as voting for Dubya "because he's a man of character" deserves to lose a game where he strikes out 15 batters (then again, hating Republicans and cheering on baseball players is hypocrisy on the level of hating drugs and cheering on rock musicians, so maybe I should just shut up).
And speaking of rock musicians, yours truly finally got to see The Fiery Furnaces this past Saturday at the death trap that is Webster Hall. Even though the place has seemingly increased in size since I was last there, and they widened the entrance doorway to the main hall, the horrendous exit situation (narrow, only one, lots of stairs) will still leave the audience fucked beyond fucked should a (heaven forbid) Great White-like fiasco occur. Someone with some influence should speak up.
But as for the show....t'was interesting. I literally hadn't seen the band live since they opened for Sleater-Kinney back in the summer of 2003, and while that show featured two drummers and Eleanor Friedberger on guitar, only one drummer this time, and Eleanor was restricted to vocals, while her brother handled all the axe work. Furthermore, it was really obvious that Eleanor had a serious head cold, and her voice was reduced to a ragged croak by the evening's end. The set itself was wholly different than last Thursday's Northsix gig chronicled by OneLouder andMMM; completely in the "medley" mode that they've done in the past--which is to say comprised of bits and pieces of all of their songs, somehow strung together in one hour long chunk. Songs get played faster, slower, backwards, louder,...you'll pick out a lyric here, a Wurlitzer hook there, etc. This is all held together by a drummer who acts like Animal from the Muppets, but all too often gets stuck playing a basic 4/4 when he can't figure out what else to do.
This musical approach was appealing, and would have likely been more so had Eleanor not completely lost her voice. However, lots of the melodies inherent in the Furnaces' best songs get buried in the guitar heavy mix, and Matthew Friedberger's over-reliance on effects becomes grating over time. Melody was in short supply; pummeled into submission from the guitar heavy assault, only giving way when Matthew took over on the Wurlitzer Electric Piano; an instrument which was responsible for delivering many of the recognizable hooks and/or transitions. The medley lasted around 50 minutes, and was followed by two encores consisting of some new songs, and "Here Comes The Summer" from their recent EP. All in all, a fun time, made even more so from seeing the confused faces of the Webster Hall 'regulars' who were there for the Saturday night "singles auction." gross.