Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Crooked Fingers And Port O'Brien Played Great American - Pics, Review

Last night at the Great American, we caught what must be the definition of a co-headlining bill: two awesome bands, playing two awesome sets, to a room full of folks who were stoked to be there the entire time. Port O'Brien and Crooked Fingers put out about an hour of music each, and in both cases left the room at the Great American energized and ready for more.

Port O'Brien opened their set with the more acoustic, chilled out side of their repertoire. This was a solid move, as it allowed for an emphasis on the band's lyrics and quieter elements. Not only was there the standard acoustic guitar and banjo, but the band also brought in a cellist for the show, and swiped Crooked Fingers' violinist for a few numbers to boot.

The second half of the band's set layed on the electric guitars, and upped the rock and roll vibe significantly. It seems that this is the band's new direction, and to be frank we really, really like it. With their (admittedly well written) more folky vibe, the band was in dangerous territory of becoming another run of the mill folk-rock act. By contrast, their full-on rock sound is pushing a lot more boundries both compositionally and musically.

The band wrapped up their set (as they are apt to do) with a rousing, crowd-involved, full on hollering version of "I Woke Up Today". We have to admit, we're torn on this one: on the one hand, it's great to see a crowd get on stage hollering, playing pots and pans, and generally enjoying themselves. On the other hand, it's a little weird to have a seemingly spontaneous act happening at every single show. That being said, we'd guess this bit will fall into the background once the band has another record, so we just sat back and enjoyed it while it lasted.

Similar to Port O'Brien, Crooked Fingers also took the chill-out approach to the first half of their set. Eric Bachmann open the show completely solo on acoustic guitar, and even once the full band had come on stage, the first few numbers were definitely on the more downtempo side.

The band, which included a violinist in addition to the usual drums-guitar-bass combo, played a wide selection of Crooked Fingers catalog, ranging from material from the band's first record, to Eric Bachmann's solo jaunt, to the band's most recent effort Forfeit/Fortune. While most of the material sounded similar to its recorded cousins, the new record's material did take on a slightly different bent. The absence of keyboards, layered strings, and horns gave way to a notably pared down sounf more the new tunes.

For us, the biggest surprise of the night came when Bachmann spontaneously led the band through a number of Archers Of Loaf tunes towards the end of the set. Starting with "Web In Front", then to "White Trash Heroes", and winding up with "Harnessed In Slums". We have no idea if this has become a staple of Crooked Fingers' set, but it was great to hear these Archers classics, and from the looks of things, the crowd felt the same way.

Update: I Pick My Nose was also there.

Many more pictures at the HAD Archive