Friday, April 1st, 2005

Call To Love

I’ve been hearing people complain lately that Crooked Fingers sounds too much like Neil Diamond. I don’t really know what Neil Diamond sounds like. And going into last night’s show at the Horseshoe, I had just about as much history with Crooked Fingers. I saw Eric Bachmann perform solo whilst opening for The Delgados last year and quite enjoyed him, but that’s it. Never heard any of the albums (well, heard some of the new one, Dignity & Shame), never listened to Archers Of Loaf… It’s not often I go to a show with pretty much a blank slate, so I was curious to see what it’d be like.

And it was good. They opened with a sparse and lovely reading of “You Must Build A Fire” off of the new record, which is quite probably one of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard in recent years (it’s streaming on their website right now, go listen) – certainly a good start. From there, however, things got a lot more raucous. Crooked Fingers as a six-piece band and as a solo outfit are quite different propositions. Whereas Bachmann solo played up the folksinger angle, the full band was considerably more revved up. I don’t know about Neil Diamond, but I was certainly hearing some Springsteen parallels. I enjoy a good high-energy rock show as much as anyone, but I think I would have preferred a more subdued performance akin to the solo show or even the recorded material, which has a more delicate feel. I fear something worthwhile is getting lost in the translation. If any AoL/CF fans are reading this, can they perhaps tell me if they played and Archers Of Loaf material? Some of the songs seemed a lot heavier than I ever would have imagined appearing on a Crooked Fingers record.

Opening things up was Tony Dekker of Great Lake Swimmers performing solo and doing quite a good job of it. He’s another performer whose material and delivery lend themselves quite well to the one man-one guitar format – it really lets his voice, which is quite stunning, shine through. It’s a shame that the crowd at the ‘Shoe couldn’t be persuaded to quite down for Dekker’s quietly heart-rending songs. I am going to have to pick up one of his/their records one of these days.

Photos tomorrow. In the meantime, read this interview with Eric Bachmann at 20/40. And many thanks to sound guy Jeff for getting me on the guest list. I’ve never actually been put on a list before – at least not successfully.

Aversion interviews The Decemberists. Via For The Records.

“The following takes place between season 2 and season 3″… (Username: preview / Password: C3%qt24) Oh you bastards. SOMEONE GET ME A PLAYSTATION. I’ll only need it for, uh, twenty-four hours or so. There better be a PC port for this somewhere down the line. It’s nice to see that digi-Kim is still stupid and annoying.

In an effort to reduce the amount of comment spam I’m getting, I’ve turned off comments in all posts more than two months old. So if you’ve had some chestnut or zinger you’ve been sitting on since last December, you’re outta luck, sorry.

Hooray for Sping – April means I’m off transit and back on my bike. Yes, the time for hibernation is over, it’s time to get some exercise again.

np – Mogwai / Government Commissions: BBC Sessions 1996-2004

By : Frank Yang at 9:18 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. monkeyinabox says:

    I’ll have to listen to some Crokked Fingers and see. My wife said the same thing about Peter Murphy on his solo work.

  2. Paul says:

    I know they’ve been throwing a couple Archers songs into the sets here and there, mostly because Matt Gentling (AoL’s bassist) is touring with Crooked Fingers this time around.

  3. Gary Campbell says:

    If there’s a version of that 24 game for XBOX we should talk…

  4. jason says:

    when i went to the opening of this CF tour and saw Matt Gentling on stage i was giddy/floored. i listened to lots of AoL back in the day. as far as comparisons go, i thought the first two records eric did sounded a lot like tom waits and the following records suggested a springsteen/n. young hybrid. i think what i really like about CF is that i listened to AoL through college and it feels as if eric’s music has grown with me.

    i have a bootleg of the show i went to if anyone is interested in hosting a track or two.

  5. Michael LeRay says:

    I’ve been listening to Dignity and Shame non-stop lately, easily surpassing the time I’ve spent with anything he has done before. The Neil Diamond comparison is accurate and after this album I’ll throw in John Mellencamp, Bob Dylan and especially Mark Knopfler. I did a review for his last one for 75 or Less and threw in a Neil comparison.


    I hope he comes near here for a show.

  6. ET says:

    "i think what i really like about CF is that i listened to AoL through college and it feels as if eric’s music has grown with me. "

    That’s the allure for me, too, I think.

    The only Archers song I’ve ever heard CF play is "Chumming The Oceans" (which is just piano / vox / loop) … but I don’t think he’s ever had Gentling in the lineup, either. I miss seeing Matt do his little "march" on stage …

  7. bradley says:

    I hear the Neil Diamond comparisons. I will also state that I LOVE Neil Diamond. It’s mainly in the timber of his vocals. Not really in the music at all. Frank, I think you would be quite pleased with the first two Archers of Loaf records. The guitars are amazing. It’s the great combination of dissonance and hooks you can’t shake. Like Pavement if they didn’t live in their own asses only they rock harder. Oh, I like Pavement too.