As a publicist, I’m constantly inviting writers to concerts, so it’s a nice change when situations are reversed and a writer invites me to a show, and it’s even better when the writer is Time Out NY’s Jay Ruttenberg and the show includes a set from one of my favorite bands, The Fiery Furnaces.
When he’s not busy writing for TONY, Jay edits the fantastic Lowbrow Reader, and last night’s event (officially called The Lowbrow Reader Variety Hour and held at the amazingly altruistic Housing Works Bookstore) celebrating the new issue.
The night started off with banjo antics from Peter Stampfel and the Ether Frolic Mob, followed by an amazing reading from Gilbert Rogin, and music from Larkin Grimm. I loved comedian John Mulaney’s set (wish I could find a YouTube clip of his routine on ‘Law & Order,’ which cracks me up), but the Furnaces were the real highlight of the evening.
I was sitting about four feet from the stage and snapped this picture as Jay was introducing Eleanor and Matthew.
Seeing the Friedberger kids play with just Matthew’s acoustic guitar was amazing, and so wildly intimate. It felt like a family reunion almost, but the only people who were actually related were the performers themselves. Their set focused mostly on material from their new album ‘I’m Going Away,’ which all sounded great (especially “Cut the Cake”), but they also played one of my old favorites “Teach Me Sweetheart” from ‘Bitter Tea.’
Here’s hoping there’s another Variety Hour in the works!