Pinback, with Crooked Fingers

Show Date: May 26, 2002

Have you ever been advised to attend an event by enough people in a short span of time that you know the fates have virtually demanded your presence? Well, that would be the Sunday night of Memorial Day weekend, the Pinback/Crooked Fingers show at the Crocodile. After hearing from no fewer than five people that we should attend, the Girls arrived (after a mandatory visit to the Imaginary Girls approved Wasabi Bistro, the greatest sushi rolls in the world). Oh my.

I was excited to see Crooked Fingers again. I had seen them a couple times last year when they were opening up for Bright Eyes (in Seattle and Portland) and was amazed. Usually, opening bands for something as emotionally intense as a Bright Eyes show don't get much attention as I am focused on finding a good spot in the cramped all-ages quarters and bursting with excitement about seeing one of my favorite bands. But whenever Crooked Fingers took the stage, I couldn't help but go silent, instantly contemplative and grounded… at one with every sound they make. The banjo-esque plucking of the strings, the mini chimes, the stand-up base. They were able to command with a gentle power that I can dare compare to Nick Drake or Leonard Cohen. Sure I dare… that's what the official Crooked Fingers web site says too!

This time Crooked Fingers were opening for Pinback… and we all kept saying the same thing… who's Pinback? How could they have slipped our radar? Well, apparently we were the only ones not in the know, as the place was packed!

First off, can I just say: ooh la la! What a babe-fest. Our favorite hot young thing Drew Victor (Drew Victor and Passing Friends, Asahi) met us at the door, along with friend and band-mate (and fellow hottie) Bennett Slothower. Justin Benson of Argo and his adorable girlfriend Chris — a few of our favorite karaoke companions — were also present… among countless other friends (Sean, Courtney, Wayne… hi all!). Plus some long-standing favorite Seattle gorgeous boys around town: Phil "pitter-patter" Ek (producer Built to Spill, 764-HERO, Pretty Girls Makes Graves, Aveo, etc.), and Ken "sugar-smacks" Stringfellow (Posies). Oh boy, the eye-candy!! Music? Who needs music? Overstimulated?!? Did someone say overstimulated?

Don't forget about the new addition to the local band radar, Mike Bundy from Yeek Yak Airforce. I finally met one of those friendly faces I pass in the hall at work — and then come to find out he is in a good band (you can hear song samples and try to arrange your own chance meeting at one of their upcoming shows at their web site: www.yeekyakairforce.com). And no, I didn't get the skinny on what the band name means.

Truly, I was so over-stimulated by the crowd alone that music seemed almost ancillary. But then — holy shite — the music was great. Crooked Fingers, a side project of Archer's of Loaf front man Eric Bachmann, blew my mind.

Halfway through the set he and his stand-up bassist came to the center of the audience, where they proceeded to play acapela for several songs. Phenomenal! And the eeriest part: the guy sounds EXACTLY like Neil Diamond. Truly, it was almost spooky, and you could hear the buzz through the crowd as people realized and discussed it. And check this out: I just went up to the Crooked Fingers web site, and they're about to release an album of cover tunes — that will include not only a Neil Diamond song ("Solitary Man"), but also a cover of the Queen/David Bowie classic "Under Pressure." We had the honor of hearing that one at the show, and it was phenomenal.

As for Pinback, I bet they were pretty great. But frankly, after a day of BBQs and sushi and Crooked Fingers show — oh my — this Imaginary Girl was pretty ready to head home. And Pinback came prepared to play for hours. After listening for about two hours, we heard rumors that they were planning on playing until the club kicked them out. So the Girls left — as did many of the other attendees — sated from a night of great tunes and great times.