Monday, November 7, 2011

Crooked Fingers Played Mercury Lounge - Pictures, Review

Before we say anything else, there is this:  You must see Crooked Fingers on this tour.  Over the past ten years we've seen a number of shows from Eric Bachmann's band, and never before have they been as on top of their game as they are now.  Not only is the new record is fantastic, but the band is rock solid, and Bachmann is delivering balls-to-the-wall performances that are as endearing as they are jarring, as fiery as they are touching, and as lucid as they are blurry.  In short, on Friday night at Mercury Lounge we saw one of the most dynamic performances in recent memory, and perhaps the best ever from Bachmann.  And yes, we realize that's saying a lot.

The show began with a stirring rendition of Bachmann's solo piece "Man O' War" on solo acoustic guitar.  The band sang backup, with the exception of a momentary guitar solo to replace the piano from the original track.  The gentleness of the delivery was underscored by the clarity of the lyric, and the unquestionable perfection of Bachmann's voice.  When the song finished, the immediate yelp from the crowd was a stark contrast to the quiet during the delivery, and it was clear that it was going to be a good night.

Over the next two hours, Bachmann hammered through Crooked Finger's catalog, dipping way back for "Crowned In Chrome" and "New Drink For The Old Drunk", and delivering brand-new barnstormers like "Bad Blood" and "Went To The City".  Interestingly, the performances were so well constructed, and the band so tight, that the highly loyalist crowd was just as engaged by the classics as they were by the new material.   It was a night of fantastic music, plain and simple, and Bachmann was clearly as delighted with the music as his audience.

Following the wrap of the regular set, Bachmann returned to the stage with guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Liz Durrett, and the two did an off-mic duet of "Your Control" that simply took our breath away.  The soul that was squeezed into that three minutes of music was palatable, and would have been worth the ticket price alone.  Luckily, it was nowhere near alone, and the band returned to the stage for a stirring, massive rendition of "Typhoon" before they left the stage for good.

The fact is that there are good musicians, and there are great musicians, and Eric Bachmann is quite obviously the latter.  For over twenty years he has been delivering songwriting that is as quirky as it is comforting, and he's always done so to the beat of his own drummer.  On Friday night he proved that not only has the undertaking proved worthwhile, but that he is at the cusp of a new era of greatness that may see his labor of love be at its best yet.  And, like we said, that's saying a lot.

Crooked Fingers are currently on a US tour.

More pictures at the HAD Archive