Live Review: Furnace and the Fundamentals + Discovery + Jude Perl – Max Watts, Melbourne (01.07.17)

Before anything, let’s take a moment and raise a glass to Furnace and the Fundamentals for not just changing the face of live music, but giving the public want they want – all killer, no filler. Gracefully traversing a well-blended medley of greatest hits, the spicy six piece took to an eager Max Watts on Friday night and delivered with absolute, unqualified success.

Kicking off the evening, singer-songwriter-comedian Jude Perl hilariously engaged the audience with her signature comedic dead-pan banter before launching into a pastiche celebration. Perl’s oeuvre is unique, masterfully combining the subtle with the outlandish, across a variety of musical genres. From infectious toe-tappers to lighter-waving ballads, Perl’s songs all convey the bizarre dangers and pure silliness of ‘Life as Jude’ – and we love it! It’s a niche market, but it bloody well works.

At the age of 16, I decided NOT to jump the fence at one of Daft Punk’s Australian shows. Ten years later, my decisions still haunt me. Thankfully, Melbourne’s own Daft Punk tribute duo Discovery has helped appease my stupidity. Donned in the iconic Alive ’07 attire, Discovery scratched through a thrashtastic slice of big house and disco, only to be expertly matched with modern electro-funk. For a devotee, it may be a bit more ‘club’ than ‘punk’, but this is easily the next best thing.

With a video rolling of the Sydney-based Furnace and the Fundamentals’ pre-show preparations, majestically layered with Tina Turner’s “Simply the Best”, the stage was gloriously transformed into FURNAPALOOZA – humanity’s most exhilarating and extravagant dance party/festival.

Blistering through a sensorial overload of subtle yet refined party covers, the music and performance itself was as impeccable as unpredictable. As energetic as anchoring. As seamless as diverse. Seriously, who would have thought “Smells Like Teen Spirit” could mix so well with Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”. Or, British New Wave classic “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” is practically “Seven Nation Army”. Sizzling through a smorgasbord of cheesy classics, these are but a few delicious left-field juxtapositions that (somehow) worked across a near two-hour set.

Catalysing music’s most celebrated and societal dominations across several decades, Furnace and the Fundamentals never miss a beat. Aided by Elliott Crane’s (aka Furnace) resplendent, agile, double-cream vocals, no track seems too arduous or testing. Perfectly escorted by the just-as talented Digby Robinson on guitar/saxophone/backing vocals/tap shoes/whatever really…, the non-stop mash-up spectacular also fused whole band choreographed dance moves, stage props, confetti cannons and big-screen visuals. With the also polished talents, charismatic vibe and multifaceted abilities of Marcus, Tom, Mike and Pluto, this was a complete combination of charm, ease, and professionalism.

Whilst Woodstock had free love and peace, Burning Man burns with self-reliance and Coachella is that glamorous haven for your inner bohemian, FURNAPALOOZA is a whirlpool of free-spiritedness, impulsiveness, superb musicianship, energy, inclusivity, debauchery and most importantly fun. You won’t get this from your standard cover band.