I want to feel music rattle through my bones. I want the kinetic energy of it to alter my electrical systems, the beat of my heart, the firing of my neurons. I want to lose myself for a while.
When my mom first mentioned the Handsome Furs, I liked the music in the same way you like someone else’s favorite shampoo. It was good. If I heard it, I enjoyed it. I didn’t however, need to slather that creamy goo all over my own hair and work it up into a fragrant froth.
And then the Handsome Furs came to San Diego. The first time I saw them live, they were playing at the Casbah, which is an icon of awesomeness. Black and red are the colors of the Casbah. An authentic linoleum floor supports us all, and dim light fixtures with shades of perfect plastic pastiche illuminating our way.
My expectations for this show, for them, were nonexistent. When Alexei Perry and Dan Boeckner came out. The texture of the room rippled. She was a tiny grinning ball of energy, and he was a lanky awkward stride of musical proficiency. As soon as they started playing, I realized two things.
1. I knew Dan’s work (he was part of another defunct musical project I adored (Wolf Parade).
2. I loved them.
The stage was like a trampoline for Alex, and she dripped sweat all over the keyboards. He jerked between keyboards, lead vocals and some badass guitar playing. His vocal stylings are not smooth or melodic, but lyrical. Bass and scratchy electro-pop oscillated through the room. They didn’t just perform music. They were the music, embedded in the moment, in each other and what they had created.
They loved what they were doing so much. They loved music, they loved touring and each other, and it carried.
That show, those two people altered my insides.
It wasn’t a fluke, I hadn’t already been ecstatically happy, or on any mind-bending concoctions. We saw them once more at the Belly Up before the HF split up (so bummed). As it had been, so it was. They even brightened and energized all the staunch depressives in the room.
and note how wildly different their sound is: