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Handsome Furs live in Belfast
Live review...
Handsome Furs
Handsome Furs are perhaps better known as him from Wolf Parade and his missus. He's on guitar, she's on keyboards and drum machine, and my, can they make one hell of a racket between the two of them.

New album, Face Control, was inspired by their recent Eastern European tour, and you don't have to delve too deep to find that influence. Between the slightly scuzzy sounding guitars, synths and beats, the infusion of post-punk (and at times almost Springsteen-esque melodies), images of bleak, crumbling industrial landscapes aren't far away.

They have an incredible knack for making spiky, punky, grungy, indie electro rock sound rather epic and grand indeed. It was hard to believe that the set lasted only an hour with the material they managed to get through. As talented as they are with creating these epic soundscapes, they are perhaps at their best with songs like �Legal Tender', �Radio Kaliningrad', and �Talking Hotel Arbat Blues' - filled with jagged hooks and riffs and blinding beats, they're almost downright (whisper it quietly) poppy. �Talking Hotel Arbat Blues' in particular has firmly entrenched the hook under �I Want Candy' in this reviewer's head for much longer than is fitting for anyone's sanity.  

Really, it's just a crying shame that there aren't more people there to witness it. Quiet even for a Monday night, the atmosphere isn't quite what it could be. Boeckner and Perry are still plenty energetic enough for the rest of us, though. Bouncing about at her drum machine and keyboards, Perry bears a passing resemblance to what can only be described as a punk rock jester (in a good way, of course), leaping around in her harlequin patterned and striped outfit.

They have an easy way about them - clearly very comfortable both on stage and with the crowd. They charm us with back-and-forths with audience members as well as chat about run-ins with Chinese police, Russian prostitutes, NWA covers, and how Leprechaun 4: In Space is actually a poorly made documentary about the Irish immigration to North America in the 19th century.

Despite the lack of numbers, they seem very genuinely appreciative of those who turned out, repeating several times how chuffed (or whatever �chuffed� is in Canadian) they are to be playing Belfast. In which case, we all hope they come back soon so we can drag plenty more to see them (and if they feel like bringing the rest of Wolf Parade along, that might be ok too).

Orla Graham

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Gig Details
Venue: Spring & Airbrake
Location: Belfast
Date: 27/10/09

Related Links
+ Handsome Furs (myspace)