“I don’t know if you notice anything different, it’s getting dark and it’s getting cold and the nights are getting long”. So goes the opening line to Fink’s This Is The Thing, lead single from recently released second guitar album Distance And Time.
It’s one of many salient observations made by the vocalist in the course of an hour and a half, where his asides to the mostly hushed audience are complemented by the barest of accompaniment on semi-acoustic guitar, sonorous bass and sparingly used drum kit.
The Luminaire is an ideal spot for creating such a reverent hush, and at the quietest points of the gig it was even possible to hear glasses clink at the bar, such was the intimacy of music and subject content. With the minimum of fuss Fink and his two cohorts set about creating a smoky atmosphere, and the singer immersed himself in his more recently autobiographical lyrics.
“Sitting at the table where it all began for us” remembered Blueberry Pancakes, and the cracked emotion in the singer’s voice indicated that he was all but sat in his seat with a pint of Stella, as the bass drum rattled beneath, the dust seemingly kicked out of it. It frequently surprised the power the trio could get behind the music, despite seemingly having little available to them.
With two albums’ worth of stories to tell, it was pleasing to note the quality refused to dip, regardless of whether singles or album tracks were used. Two cover versions remained – the former, Alison Moyet’s All Cried Out, particularly smoky, while the latter, Kraftwerk’s The Model, played by the band for only the second time as an encore, their first being on their previous visit to the venue.
Fink’s lyrics seemed to have uncommon resonance for personal issues of the day. Even the postal strike got a fluky name check, with Little Blue Mailbox noting, “I’ve been waiting all this time for a letter”, something all the audience could relate too! This song generated an impressive amount of latent anger and emphasised the edge that runs beneath all of Fink’s material. Biscuits For Breakfast brought that forward too, projecting vividly the frustration of the endless 9 to 5.
As the first encore Sorry I’m Late once again captured modern society at its worst and most inconvenient – the crowded inbox chief among Fink’s problems, as opposed to the recreational activities of smoking and drinking. This gig was smoky in all but reality, as all three protagonists hit the zone.