Three hours drive away in Gothenburg U2 are about to step out under the claw again but we have settled for the very cosy environs of Copenhagen’s Rust club where Handsome Furs are playing their second local gig in as many months. A simple affair, the band is comprised of our favourite member of Wolf Parade, Dan Boeckner, and his lady wife Alexei Perry. The stage is a simple set-up too. Two mics, one table with one keyboard and a small sequencer (or something with a lot of buttons and knobs on it) and a guitar. We’re pondering if just two people on stage can deliver on the meaty electro rock of the new Face Control album when the duo appear beside us at the bar to order a pre-gig drink – no pretensions in this room tonight.
About 30 seconds into the opener ‘Legal Tender’ it becomes clear that Dan and Alexei provide everything to fill this room and way, way more. She – pumping out the electro-handclaps from the keys in front of her and getting lost in it from the off. He – in perfect voice, veins in the neck already bulging with intensity and t-shirt bleeding with sweat. The house lights in the venue have been engaged by a mad genius and through the smoke and the strobing beams we’re sucked in by these two guys totally wrapped into the songs. Alexei kicks her legs as far away from the keyboard as her arm length will allow and jigs about with such ferocity that it puts her brassiere under severe pressure. Dan pulls the mic off the stand then drapes it around his neck when he gets back to his guitar – also managing to play the guitar with one hand by just hammering the chords down.
Many of the songs are introduced by Boeckner in odd and amusing dedications: ‘This is a song about the internet’ for -Evangeline’, -I’m Confused’ for David Carradine, another song was ‘…about the great American filmmaker McG and his new documentary Terminator Salvation‘). This banter and the genuine joy and thanks they gave us at the end of each song just fed the crowd and they responded with genuine appreciation too. After each song the couple drape themselves over each other as they catch their breath obviously in love with not just the whole performing, but also each other.
With a new album of such force and a passion on (and no doubt off) stage, plus the intimate surroundings, plus the cheap tickets, plus, well, everything that aligns when these guys play, we would not have been anywhere else in the world on Friday night.
Photos by Dorthe Mey