Monday, April 04, 2005
Last Tuesday's return of Crooked Fingers to Boston was a personal near-miss, as I'd been up too damn late for too many nights in a row and was seriously wavering on yet another. But that was before I got an email from an Almanac reader who'd just seen them in DC and raved, asking if I'd be going and recording the Boston stop. He used words like 'incredible' and 'best show...' and 'felt like seeing the Archers again'... meaning the Archers of Loaf, CF frontman Eric Bachmann's longtime former band who I absolutely adore. He said that this tour marked the return of crazy Archer's bassist Matt Gentling to the road, and that he added a lot to the set.
So I was decided. After work would bring a nap and another night out. And I'm so, so glad I did. Not only did I decide to go, but a really nice yearly review at work meant I was buying myself a little present that day, and in honor of the show, it ended up being a new Sony Hi-MD minidisc recorder (no more whining, you picky audiophiles!). Tuesday night would be my beta-test.
Got some great stuff, although it was a not an entirely successful trial run... ends up the auto-recording level action on these new Sony players kinda sucks, and most of the set pushed it too high. Even the louder ones I'm sharing up are occasionally marred by snare-induced level drops, but still, the quiet stuff is ace, sounding so much better than my Archos, 'natch. (If the model I bought had a backlit screen, I'd have known about the level problem, but the damn thing was too dark... so I exchanged it today for the beautifully backlit model MZ-RH10 that is so super sweet).
So, yeah, here's what Crooked Fingers played, with the best sounding songs shared for your enjoyment...
Crooked FingersThey deviated just a bit from the planned setlist near the end, altough most songs were from the excellent 'Dignity & Shame'. Thrown in were selections from the other three CF full-lengths, including markedly different versions for the full-band setup, as well as the unreleased 'Let's Not Pretend To Be New Men'. I didn't get the one-song encore since the battery wasn't fully charged, but it would have distorted as well, so no biggie. I fell lucky to have gotten what I did. Future recordings should be distortion free, and I'm pretty psyched.
As for the performance itself, I loved nearly every single second of it. The up songs, the down songs, all of 'em. Yes, there were those Springsteen moments, there were the oft-mentioned shades of Neil Diamond in his voice... but y'see, I'm down with that. For Bachmann and his band, it just plain works. They put on a show, and damn if it wasn't great to see Matt Gentling rocking out again near the back of the stage, stomping and swaying like the bass-playing maniac he always was in the Archers. They all looked like they were just enjoying the hell out of playing for a half-full club on a Tuesday night... grateful, enthusastic, energetic, swapping instruments and singing along even without microphones.
Speaking of which, that was the most special part of the night, as most who've seen this current tour will probably... for four songs, the band brought themselves and their instruments out into the center of the room and played acoustic as the crowd surrounded themselves in a circle. They don't do it every single night, but only when the mood is right and the room suits it. The pictures below and recordings above can't express how cool it felt to be right there next to 'em as they performed for us all...
Like I said, aside from my trip down to the Teenbeat shindig, this was easily the show of the year for me so far. So thanks to Eric Bachmann, Jason Parker, Barton Carroll, Matt Gentling, Barbara Trentalange, and Dov Friedman for that. I'll be at every Boston appearance from here on out, no matter what night of the week it is.
For a few more photos, check out my Flickr page, and make sure you visit the Crooked Fingers site for more tour dates, tour photos, some mp3s, and a stream of the entire new album.
live in cambridge, ma
on november 14th, 2008
previously: joy formidable - boston 2011
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