When you’re half of a band as well known as The Fiery Furnaces, people, right or wrong, are going to have expectations. Eleanor Friedbergers’s first victory over those expectations this week was the release of her excellent new solo album, Last Summer. Breezy, poppy and loud when it’s gotta be, Last Summer is an unmitigated hit, as well as being one of our favorite records of the year so far. Her second victory over those expectations this week was the performance that she delivered to a welcoming crowd assembled in the Back Room of the Black Cat on Tuesday, the night of that records release.
My expectation for the show was that it would be somewhat reserved, but perfectly serviceable. I also (wrongly) assumed that Eleanor might be the type who is solely focused on the music, acknowledging the crowd once in a while, but for the most part just performing her material to the people who paid to see it.