Real Live Action

Handsome Furs

w/ Johnny & the Moon

Richard's on Richards; June 4, 2009

Review By Jackie Wong

Think of the moments in your life that you’ll carry with you always. You are lucky if that includes falling in love—luckier still if it’s making music with the one you love. And if even one memory includes the two of you collapsing on the floor of a soon-to-be demolished Vancouver stage in a collectively-formed puddle of sweat, exhaustion and reverb, as a capacity crowd of family, friends and total strangers cheers you on, you live a charmed life indeed. Such was the scene during Handsome Furs’ latest visit to our fair city on one of the most unseasonably hot nights of the year, where husband and wife duo Dan Boeckner and Alexei Perry spectacularly sweated it out in skintight outfits (a denim suit for Boeckner, white zebra leggings for Perry) and made the best of an already excellent situation. The two were so overwhelmed by the totalizing love in the room, in fact, that they thanked us repeatedly between songs that included a vast sampling of  Face Control, their recently-released sophomore album, and ended with select gems from their 2007 debut Plague Park.

“This is like the best Christmas ever,” a grateful Boeckner told the crowd. He thanked his father for coming to the show and dedicated a song to an old friend who had borrowed his parents’ van to support him at his first-ever performance. His Wolf Parade vocal chops were not lost in the midst of the drum-machine glitches and guitar-focused pieces that mark their latest work, and his relaxed, humble stage demeanor laid the groundwork upon which Perry could go nuts—and she did. The foot-stomping, the high kicks, the chest-thumping, the cardiovascular endurance: it was a lot to take, and a little distracting, but the crowd ate it up. Fittingly, the set ended with Boeckner burying his head into the bosoms of a cluster of enthusiastic male fans while Perry took people’s hands to kiss. The passionate performance seemed to actualize what poor-man’s-Born Ruffians openers Johnny & the Moon seemed to want to communicate so desperately in their set: everyone just wants to be loved. Or, as the Furs song goes, “All we want, baby, is everything.”