The Fur Coats Play Cole’s Bar in Chicago

Last Saturday I decided to see local power pop trio The Fur Coats at Cole’s Bar, an inviting little shit-hole in Logan Square, Chicago. The weather was brutal but the ticket price was just right–as in free. That said, guitarist front-man Marc Ruvolo and drummer Davey Houle were admittedly at a loss without their regular bassist and backup vocalist Devon Kay. Prior to the show, the band sadly announced that he was stranded in Texas thanks to a broken down van.

The Fur Coats at Cole’s Bar

Kay’s replacement, John Polydoros admitted to crowd that he’d only learned their songs mere hours before the show… and that he was considerably stoned. Caveats aside, he adjusted quickly, frantically slapping out bass lines but their typically fluid harmonies sounded painfully off key–for which they apologized several times.

The Fur Coats opened with their debut album’s title track “Don’t Make Me Beg” an upbeat ode to desperation full of twentysomething angst and power chords. Ruvolo’s neurotic whine, reminiscent of Mountan Goat, John Darnielle, is the perfect vessel for the snarky, self-deprecating lyrics that punctuate their catalogue. One song in particular, entitled “What the Fuck Do I Do Now?” is an especially bitter anthem about loathing and neurosis.

Many of their songs are similar sounding, two to three minute long, products of testosterone and Attention Deficit Disorder. This attitude is prevalent throughout, manifesting itself in songs like “Tiny Fists,” “Tell Me Something I Don’t Already Know,” and Ruvolo’s favorite “Talking to Myself.” Despite the band’s slight handicap, their dry wit and brutal honesty nearly made up for a lack of preparation. Drowning in cheap Old Fashioneds, Polydoros was more than glad to sit down and let the regulars take the stage for while. Down to just a drummer and guitarist, Ruvolo jokingly compared them to duos like The White Stripes and The Black Keys.

My favorite song wound up being the sarcastically vain title track of their follow-up record, “Goddamn, I’m a Handsome Man.” The irony of this schlubby pair proclaiming themselves adonises wasn’t lost on a single audience member. To that end, they served their intended purpose as a no-frills punk group that doesn’t take themselves too seriously. Unencumbered by shredding solos or twenty piece drum kits, The Fur Coats fit their niche as a proudly juvenile bar band that you’re glad to stumble across.

The Fur Coats are currently awaiting the release of their third album League of Extraordinary Octopuses.

Article by Mickey Jacobs

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