Reviews

Future of the Left: 29 October 2009 - Washington, DC

Cole Stryker

Come on, people. Stop sleeping on one of the most invigorating bands to come down the pike in years.

Future of the Left

Future of the Left

City: Washington, DC
Venue: Rock and Roll Hotel
Date: 2009-10-29

DC's account reps, software engineers and quality assurance associates clean out your inboxes, shut down your computers and converge on H Street. This is our Fight Club, and our chance to forget about our boring lives and experience a few hours of grinning, thunderous violence.

The instruments that make up the Future of the Left's sound meld together with some arcane alchemy. Every sound is precise and clear and unified. The atomic structure of each instrument breaks apart and fuses together in the shape of a single fist, thrusting forward in the direction of the Daily Grind's face.

Frontman Andy Falkous's voice sounds venomous on record, but live, it's pure canine rage. Often forgoing any attempt at lyrical continuity, his words devolve into a series of alternate growls and barks. Bassist Kelson Matthias's voice is higher pitched and a clearer counterpoint. Drummer Jack Egglestone's face stretches in a toothy grin as he beats his kit with piston-like regularity.

The band traded good-natured insults with the crowd. It only takes a moment for the band's amped-up spleen to collapse into goofy smiles and fun banter. Woe to the heckler who attempts to spar with these guys.

I saw a phenomenon at this concert that I'll never forget. Two girls entered the tiny venue and stood near the back. They banged their heads. They stomped their feet and pumped their fists. And then, I witnessed the most pure rock and roll moment in the history of man. The two girls started signing.

OK, I'll try to reign in my glee at this sight. I suppose it's possible that the girls weren't deaf, but rather just practicing sign language. After all, it's not like they could've heard each other's voices over the noise. I prefer to believe that Future of the Left rocks so hard, that even deaf people can enjoy them. If any band were capable of providing handicap accessible rock, it's this one. Their music is as much force as it is sound.

The band closed with a ten minute suite called "Cloak the Dagger", which is something Falkous describes as being their interpretation of Queensryche. About halfway through, Kelson jumped down from the stage (nothing new there), and started walking through the crowd without missing a beat. After a bit of this, he actually gave his bass to a random audience member and began to run around the room, breakdance and walk around on the floor while doing a handstand. The guitar changed a few hands, and by that time the noise was so loud that the lucky bassist-for-a-day's ham-fisted strumming sounded just fine. Meanwhile, Andy brought Jack's drum kit up to the front of the stage, piece by piece, until Jack was left with only a snare. Finally, he moved forward to join the rest of the kit. It was thrilling and participatory. Eventually Kelson's bass made its way back home, and the band finished up with a throbbing dirge.

Anyone still wondering if Future of the Left can possibly live up to McLusky's reputation need only catch the band live, if their two superb records have left anyone unconvinced. One guy made the mistake of wearing a McLusky t-shirt to the show. "You're wearing the wrong shirt," complained Matthias, who wasn't in FoTL's parent band. "That offends me." As it should…McLusky who?

The turnout was pathetic, even for a venue as small as the Rock and Roll Hotel. There couldn't have been more than 75 people there. Come on, people. Stop sleeping on one of the most invigorating bands to come down the pike in years.

Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

Keep reading... Show less
9
TV

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less
9

Here comes another Kompakt Pop Ambient collection to make life just a little more bearable.

Another (extremely rough) year has come and gone, which means that the German electronic music label Kompakt gets to roll out their annual Total and Pop Ambient compilations for us all.

Keep reading... Show less
8

Winner of the 2017 Ameripolitan Music Award for Best Rockabilly Female stakes her claim with her band on accomplished new set.

Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones

Love You To Life

Label: Self-released
Release Date: 2017-08-11
Amazon
iTunes

Lara Hope and her band of roots rockin' country and rockabilly rabble rousers in the Ark-Tones have been the not so best kept secret of the Hudson Valley, New York music scene for awhile now.

Keep reading... Show less
8
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image