With a determinate sigh backstage, the curtains drawn and evoked a seemingly shadowed abyss, Mike Fury hunches at a makeshift beverage bar. His hands outstretched in a solemn prayer like display of his respect for his craft, a slightly worn Scully Western shirt draped across his frame, sleeves rolled up and a lukewarm beer resting before him. Mike Fury is a rarity on the Canadian music scene; he's the guy with the tattered, beaten, well worn cowboy hat adorned with an appropriate and oddly classy accent of urban filth. Fury is a simmering volcanic eruption of vocal mastery and intellectual avalanche resting against the unsettling shelf of his own self reserve, like a rainstorm about to descend on an unsuspecting parched prairie farmstead - so to is Mike Fury. Seeing Mike prior to showtime is to see a man deep in a contemplative space, alone with his thoughts, his triumphs celebrate in the memory bank and scrutinizes his poor choices along his journey to today; Fury is no stranger to success nor it's all too close second cousin of failure. He has seen the natural ebb and flow pattern to his music career and traded blows to fight for his place in a niche marketplace.
With the roadcrew taking their places, setting up guitarist pedalboards, mic stands, a baby blue glossy upright bass and a lone snare drum and complimentary high hat cymbal; Fury awakens from his distant gaze, stands up and declares - "yup same 3 guys, bad at math and good at playin' music - the Mike Fury 4". He slides the chair back and rises to his already stressed leather cowboy boots, a discerning mix of street grime, Tenessee's finest Jack Daniels whiskey and horse shit - he climbs the stairs to the stage, 4 drum sticks in his rear right pocket. He greets the crowd with a cordial traditional "good evening" and casts forth the embers of the evening that will culminate in the fueled incendiary noodlin' of Cousin Harley (Paul Pigat).
Mike Hell (Eve Hell & the Razors) on his Gretsch guitar, Mike McAfferty surfing the baby blue pipeline of his upright bass and Mike Fury on a standup drum kit collectively formulate the Mike Fury 4. Their playing styles as unique and complimentary as the next in line as you pan the stage from left to right. Mike Hell, is his western pearl button up shirt, cuffed denims and motorcycle boots - his once famous well manicured pomp has been traded as of late for a more straight ahead minimalist approach, Hell has returned to his roots philosophy of "guitar first - hair second". Mike Fury, as described earlier is as much a hybrid creation between classics like dare I say it - Stompin' Tom, Johnny Cash with a modest amount of Slim Jim Phantom. Rockin' back n' forth with a very loose rhythmic address Fury makes it all appear very loose and indeed it is - admittedly even to his bandmates, and that is what makes the Mike Fury 4 fun. Last but certainly not least is the feverish bass skills of one Mike McAfferty. McAfferty, a distinguished unassuming character in his own right, he is the model of a quiet musician - he knows his craft and he knows it. His outfit is never gawdy or garish, he is all about being the professional, the businessman if you will - he approaches his playing with the same context. While staring down McAfferty through the lens you will seldom see a man "playing to the camera" - you will however see a musician with tactician sharp delivery and focused.
Bearing witness to the ability that is Mike Fury is to see a technician bleed his skill against his instrument, to expose his ability and give against the better part of valor and discretion. His playing style is unique and multidimensional as the man himself, his ability to absorb missed cues, change ups and directional reversals in playing style and still "make it work" are the skills from which legends are borne. Fury is never without a reserve set of sticks in his hip pocket, like the gunslinger with an alternate dueling pistol; he accepts nothing but exacting and tenuous execution - even if a stick or two is broken or missing along the way. Without missing a beat, Fury draws from his quiver of arrow like sticks and continues on and rolls with the true feeling of the setlist.
Through their traditionally soaked favorites and the familiar scent of Jack Daniels at their back, the trio rocketed from top to bottom on their setlist with the odd inuendo and barb directed at former ex - girlfriends and that pesky woman you wake up beside the next morning. Long story short - the Fury 4 are the band you want to kick off any event such as this, their irreverently loose playing style and enjoyment of the moment in time are what every headliner searches for from each town along the open road and what each opening act inevitably tries too hard to be. The Mike Fury 4 know this formula, they execute it with precision and leave you begging for more.
Mike Fury 4 Setlist: