Tight Pants, Tighter Harmonies

The Futureheads
Lee's Palace
November 1, 2004
It's the Return of the Robots. Exactly one month after their supporting spot with Franz Ferdinand, the Futureheads were back in Toronto to play a headlining gig at Lee's Palace.

They opened their set with the Motown-esque harmonies of "Doos" and "Ahhs" in "Le Garage", a short barrage of vocal brilliance, before launching into the fittingly titled rhythmic hammering of "Robot".

The intimacy of Lee's Palace really worked in The Futureheads favour, more so than their previous show at the Docks. Its acoustics allowed their harmonies to stick out over the loud crunchy-spastic guitars and clockwork drumming.

Visually The Futureheads put on the most exciting and playful show. Lead Vocalist/Guitarist Barry Hydes' legs moved like mechanized pipe cleaners, contorting here and there to the melodic funk of their self proclaimed "most danceable" song "Decent Days and Nights".

Surprisingly Guitarist Ross Millard hit all his vocal cues (which are many) even though he seemed like he was always on the brink of going ass over teakettle from his exaggerated guitar playing. The bass player, who goes strictly by the moniker Jaff, and drummer, Hydes younger brother Dave, were also spot on vocally which is what makes The Futureheads so great.

They made three and four part harmonies, that are difficult to pull-off even when not playing ridiculous catchy instrumentals, look easy. Often they broke into three part counter melodies with Dave Hyde providing "yelps" just to add to the frenzy of ordered vocal chaos.

A short highlight was "First Day" a song literally about the first day at a new job. It starts at a medium tempo until Hyde gives the command of "FASTER FASTER!" and it erupts lightening quick with each member struggling but succeeding to keep up. Its clear they practice. A lot.

The show stealer though, much like at the Docks, was the Kate Bush written "Hounds Of Love" which starts with Hyde (Jeff), Jaff and Millard all singing a different rhythm of "ohh, ohhs" until they meet in unison on the chorus. Although not written by the Futureheads it will become their next single and probably garner them the most attention yet.

The only downside to the entire night was not from the Futureheads but the constant outbursts from an over eager fan, attempting to prove to the rest in attendance that he was the "hippest". He felt it necessary that we all know he owned their E.P.'s and got their album imported in August. In his defence though its hard not to overly love the Futureheads. Their suave English accents and polite, humorous demeanour makes you feel like your watching your best friends band perform privately.

Oh well. There's one in every crowd.

Writer: Steve Hamelin

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