Crooked Fingers at The Borderline
Eric Bachmann is a hulking presence; a mountain of a man that dwarfs the delicate classical guitar wrapped around his frame. Despite his physical dominance, he’s able to weave out songs with a playing style that moves between delicate finger-picking and aggressive strumming, in addition to a voice more high-pitched than you’d expect.
On record, Crooked Fingers are many things. Their latest album Breaks in the Armour can at times be a disorientating and difficult listen. Here on stage though, stripped back to primarily acoustic guitar and Bachmann’s warm vocals, intermittently peppered with snippets of simple electric guitar and husky backing vocals from shy and restrained band mate Liz Durrett, the songs have a greater sense of clarity.
Bachmann comes across like a less morose version of Leonard Cohen combined with Neil Diamond; his method of playing and the lyrics he chooses are always interesting, and sometimes even blunt. The material varies from melancholic to abstract, but always retains a sense of urgency and enough in the way of dynamics to prevent the performance ever becoming stale.
Crooked Fingers is essentially the Eric Bachmann show, and whether it be building the increasing menace in opening track Typhoon (ending with a force appropriate from the title), the jarring lyrical content of Bad Blood, or the moment he carefully shifts his heavy presence to the lip of the stage and performs The Counterfeiters unplugged and off-mic: it’s all captivating.
The full-capacity crowd absolutely eats up the performance. There’s a brief moment of worry when one particularly loud crowd member begins to shout out at the band, but it’s with affection, instead of a vitriolic heckle.
Overall, this was an excellent performance that goes some way towards reaffirming the impact a man and a guitar can have on an audience.
For further information and future events visit Crooked Fingers’ website here.
Watch a live performance of Bad Blood here: