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Live Review: Fink

December 4, 2014

Music | by Sophia Miles


It is not often you hear a band compared to both the grungy, desert rock pioneers Kyuss and alt-rock, post-Britpop mellow merchants Coldplay, and yet somehow Fink manage to do this and do it with aplomb.

Fink fit into neither of the formerly mentioned bands’ genres, but their softly lilting tonalities and intimate musicianship certainly have heavy overtones of the latterly mentioned. It is the performance aspect however, that sets them aside from many others.

Returning to their home country for the final date of their ‘Hard Believer’ tour in 2014, there was a certain level of the operatic brought to KOKO, Camden as almost every piece drifted into another with little or no gap in between as a droned keyboard or continuous drumbeat combined all into a singular thread.

For some this may create a congested or claustrophobic atmosphere around the music, but the beauty of the way Fink have tailored their blues/folk/rock crossover is that there are natural spaces in the music. Like Kyuss’ expansive metal or even the more experimental side of European jazz, it is the notes that they are not playing that stand out as the amplitude of their sound reaches outwards.

It is this theatricality that played so well in what was formerly the Camden Palace theatre, where parts of the crowd peer down from overarching balconies and alcoves. This was enhanced with the stunningly well designed, angle poised lighting that was at the core of the performance.Fink

Not being a naturally energetic band, some might consider stage presence a problem, but delicately choreographed lighting sequences from a series of crossbeams and pinpoint spotlights had grand waves and troughs as they moved with each surge of the music and bounced off the mirror ball hanging from the centre of the ceiling. This applied a glorious tonal texture that managed to draw the audience towards the band as audio and visual worked together.

Existing fans of the band would have undoubtedly been pleased at the number of the better known tracks that rolled out on the evening such as ‘Sort of Revolution’ and ‘Wheels’ that hold within them the typical angsty, yet cautiously optimistic, lyricism that has come to typify the band’s music. The newer material follows along the same path and so went down just as well as those that were more immediately recognisable.

Towards the closing stages of the gig, an acoustic setup was adopted, with the intimacy amped up further by the use of just an acoustic guitar and the drummer moving from a kit to a cajon. The enthralled crowd were treated to a set piece that was more reminiscent of early pub gigs than the current sell out situation they find themselves in; yet they returned to a full band blow out with ‘Berlin Sunrise’.

An encore of ‘This is the Thing’ utilised the full effect of the lighting, and the driving yet soft guitar built to a frantic and pulsating end. For those who had not seen the band before this was a real climatic treat, and for those who had, it was more of what has come to be expected from Fink.

 

Vincent JS Wood

Photography by Tommy N Lance