June 1st, 2011
On Sunday May 22, I braved the gray skies and early spring-like temps to visit the University District Street Fair to catch the Furniture Girls, a band named after the Furniture Girls in the Charlton Heston film Soylent Green, a film I haven’t seen but where women concubines come as part of the furnishings for apartments. Films depicting a dystopian future always have some odd sexual element, and the band liked the oddness and humor of this one enough to take on the name. F.G. had a 1:30 start time so arriving just after noon I had time to wander about the fair.
Walking up and down The Ave, I bumped into the masses of people walking in directions they weren’t looking, the people stopping and starting, the people eating mounds and mounds of french fries, great over-sized heaps of fried potatoes in little cardboard containers. I could feel my arteries clog just by witnessing such. There were all the usual crafts and other things to eat and those busking where they could find the space. And more people and more potatoes and more bumping. There was a guy doing a solo hacky sack to a crowd of none. At the Purrfect Pals booth, I saw a woman working who I’d once asked out for dinner and drinks. She gave a very emphatic “not interested” answer back then. I didn’t ask again. And still there were more people and more potatoes. If there wasn’t a band to see, I would have gone home as I’m not one for crowds. I should have camped out in a pub until 1:30, but I just wasn’t that smart.
When it came time, I went over to the stage and found a spot about fifty yards back where I could lean on a wall and take in F.G. and write. As soon as I settled in, a guy came over with the requisite serving of fries and chose a spot a couple feet away. He looked at me, “Hey, man, you want some?” I declined and was glad to see the Furniture Girls taking the stage. The singer, stayC Meyer, had on a green dress, boots, blond hair. She looked good. The rest of the band was appropriately casual for an afternoon of playing for the french fry crowd. It’s always that way when a female fronts a band. She becomes more the focal point than a guy singer would, tends to dress up more too, sharper, to the image, for the image, dressing for the part and the performance. Nothing wrong with looking good and sounding good, and I had it on good faith from a trusted source that she could indeed sing well. On stage, there were two guitarists. That was a bonus as in their pictures and on their CDs there was only one. I figured an extra guitar would beef up the sound. Nothing wrong with that either.
“Hey, man, I can’t eat all these, you sure you don’t want any?” I declined again. He left and left his fries on the ground where’d he’d been standing.
The band’s first song was “Chitoses Golden Gate” and caught me a little off guard. The second guitar did indeed beef it up a little more than the recording from their 2010 CD How I learned to Crawl, but it was spacier than I’d imagined, a little more atmospheric. The rhythm was slow, a simple descending bass, guitars that held notes, some with delay, some just sustained. There was a break down to just vocals and drums. It was open and drawn out. People swayed as they ate their fries. I did as I took notes. Two guitars suited them very well.
Later they played a tune called “Aurora Village Daddy”, and here came the funky-electro-rock I’d been expecting. A drum beat and a couple simple bass notes and a simple vocal. “I like it when you say, let’s have tea … I like it when you say, screw our economy … I like it when you say come fuck me…” Some people in the crowd sang the fuck me line, and the guitars came in and the bass did a little slapping and popping, and I couldn’t help but be reminded rhythmically of “Ghost Song” from An American Prayer by The Doors. There was a 70′sish funk vibe, almost porn music like. And why not? It had a groove. It’s music I’d certainly like to have sex to. “I like it when say, come fuck me.” Indeed.
An old guy in a stained yellow tee shirt came over and started eating the fries the other guy had left. He finished those and then looked at me, up at the stage, at me again before walking off in search of more.
The band played on with Meyer saying, “We’re going to get a little more aggressive now.” And she was right. The two guitars were there more and more. They gave the band a kind of Faith No More flavor. They didn’t play big solos. They played chords. They played riffs under the melody rather than all over it. They played rhythm. They built up well and a little heavy in “Aurora Village Daddy”, especially in the Kingston Wall-like ending. The closer though was the best. “Candy Kids” rocked in a groove held by some super tight bass from Jim Watkins. The guy could play. It was structurally simple, a progression of B to A for pretty much the whole song, but embellished of course, and with two guitars there was that Faith No More kind of heaviness, though of course it sounded like the Furniture Girls. There was even, finally, a solo, and an excellent one at that. Good tune. Good closer. People set their fries down and cheered.
After talking briefly with the band, I left feeling a fair bit higher than I had been. Good music of any genre will do that to me. I wandered around a bit more and didn’t mind bumping into people. I looked at all the crafts I didn’t need. I made my way over to the Purrfect Pals booth and once again asked the woman out for a drink and did not mind that she once again was not interested. I even got some fries and settled finally at a pub with some beer. Nothing wrong at all with being part of the french fry crowd after some music on a Sunday afternoon. The sun was beginning to show. The women walking about looked fine. And I had the lyric in my head, “I like it when you say…”