I don't find writing easy. I can't just burp out a humorous, entertaining, and (most importantly) on-it review like some of the other minions. It's an effort for me -- the attempt to balance evocative language with humorous language in such a way as to entertain someone who's not intimately familiar with the Atlanta music scene. And occasionally I succeed.
In some ways, my struggle seems to similar to that of Empire State. As I've stated in other reviews (such as Sat.17.June.2000 and Sat.22.July.2000), I like Empire State as a band - they try to be different. They try to take risks. And occasionally they succeed (like they did on Sat.22.July.2000). But sometimes - if not most of the time - they fail. Unfortunately, this show was one in which they failed, rather miserably.
Admittedly, it wasn't all their fault. The sound was beyond atrocious - it was a cacophony of echo and reverb and drum machines overwhelming the keyboard and vocals. Once you combined that little problem with the small issue of Empire State having not practiced in months, you essentially were left with a bunch of boys banging on instruments constructed out of junk found in someone's basement.
Eric Bachmann and Crooked Fingers, on the other hand, faces a different dilemma: he's been playing the same set for a year and a half. Call it the curse of Kelly Hogan: since he doesn't play out that much, he sticks with the numbers he can do in his sleep. Now this isn't to say that he doesn't play them well. Even on a night where there are sound difficulties and the band is unrehearsed,
he shows skill and emotion that puts many performers to shame. I mean, I was sitting in the back of The Earl, woefully embarrassed by the performance of Empire State (of whom I had bragged numerous times). I'd had a lousy week - overwhelmed at work and at home. I really wasn't in the mood to be out. However, after a few minutes, Bachmann led Crooked Fingers into a rousing rendition of New Drink for the Old Drunk and I felt myself drawn towards the stage. I wanted to lose myself in the music. I wanted to draw off their energy and forget my personal hell for a while. And they succeeded, if only briefly.
But I had been there before. And I'm ready for Crooked Fingers to grow and expand.