The Dears have been at the heart of a storm of hype lately and since their album No Cities Left has been featured in regular rotation on my iTunes lately, I was excited to have the opportunity to check out what I had heard would be an excellent show. The Dears took the stage and kicked off the set with an instrumental song marked by extremely dark, moody bass lines under the flashing lights. It was an amazing beginning to a set - heavy, intense and extremely reminiscent of Nick Cave. It was a much darker experience than I had ever anticipated the band to deliver. After the amazing start, the band retreated into their own world of musical exploration. The lead singer, Murray Lightburn, had his eyes closed for nearly the whole set, which made it slightly hard for the crowd to connect with him. But what the band lacked in overt energy and excitement, it more than made up for in sheer song quality. Brilliant moments such as Lightburn’s line, “leave me in the middle of the ocean, I can walk the rest of the way” made the whole performance worth it.
Next came Crooked Fingers, who were nothing short of super fantastic brilliant. I had had a sort of preview to this tour when Eric Bachmann played a solo set at Maxwell’s a few months back. As a result, I went in to this show expecting nothing short of amazement, which is always incredibly dangerous. Crooked Fingers met and exceeded all of my expectations. They played a long set featuring so many of their classics like “Under Sad Stars”, “New Drink for the Old Drunk”, and “Broken Man.” They also showcased some of their best new songs. The most amazing song of the night was definitely “Destroyer”. Bachmann’s talent for beautiful, bizarre and sometimes spooky lyrics is matched only by his impeccable delivery. The icing on the cake, however, was Bachmann’s backing crew. Although their sound has a Bruce Springsteen mixed with alt country vibe, the guitar player and bassist were jumping around and singing as if they were secretly listening to Nirvana on their headphones. It was amazing to see Bachmann absolutely rip on acrylic strings while his crew rocked out like they were having the time of their lives. We all ate it up. Crooked Fingers drew one of the most rowdy audiences I’ve experienced in a long time. I’m guessing that a good number of them have been diehard Bachmann fans since the early days of Archers of Loaf. There was no shortage of screaming fans making requests, but one that really struck me was the request for “You Can Never Leave” because at first I thought he meant it literally, until I remembered that they do indeed have a song with that title.
The crowd definitely did not want to see Eric Bachmann leave. After the set ended, they pounded their feet screaming in both adoration and beratement for Bachmann to come back. After two encores, they kept at it screaming, “one more!!!!” to no avail. The lights came on, the “get out” music played, and we all went home. Crooked Fingers are nothing short of brilliant. With half of their tour still remaining, be sure to check them out.
Source: Cara Heller