Essentially a Living Room Show held in an equally intimate venue—here, an art space—that found the Archers of Loaf/Crooked Fingers mainman perusing his back catalog for more than 90 minutes.
TEXT BY TIM HINELY / PHOTOS BY JEFFREY WEBB DAVIS
Through the Undertow Music Collective there are certain artists who specialize in traveling around he country and performing intimate “living room shows.” Some of these bookings are in the actual living rooms or basements of residential houses; while some, like the Denver Eric Bachmann show, take place in a more formal setting such as an art space (or, in some cases, even a furniture shop) that might even have a corner set aside for a small stage. Each venue typically might host 30-50 people depending on its layout.
The shows have become increasingly popular and have evolved from what was once an ad hoc, kind of down-low social phenomenon (zoning issues being what they are), to what’s now considered by many musicians to be a solid, revenue-generating addition to their touring itineraries that are openly advertised. The discretion factor can remain in play to a degree; for Undertow’s presentations, fans who buy tickets only know ahead of time the city and zip code of the venue, with the full address not provided until the purchase is completed. My cohort for this evening, photographer, Jeffrey Webb Davis, has attended several to date, including Centro-matic’s Will Johnson and emotional folkster Rocky Votolato.
Former Archers of Loaf/Crooked Fingers guy Eric Bachmann, now performing solo, ambled out at 8PM with an acoustic guitar and banjo. He was certainly friendly and amiable, telling the crowd about becoming a new dad and how he was recently playing with Neko Case but had to leave that gig due to the fatherhood.
In his 90-minute set Bachmann played a healthy mix from his catalog (both solo and with bands). and was taking requests from the crowd all night. He dug into old gems like “Web in Front” (from the Archers of Loag debut Icky Mettle) as well as “Revenge” from The Greatest of All Time EP. From 2006’s To The Races he played “Man O War,” “Genie Genie” and “Little Bird” as well as playing “Mercy” from his S/T record that was released last year on the Merge label.
As for Crooked Fingers tunes, he played “Devils Train” and “The Rotting Strip” among others. He ended the set with “White Trash Heroes” from the Archers ’98 album of the same name and came back for an encore (he wasn’t off stage too long) and played “Crowned in Chrome” and that was it. Bachmann thanked the crowd , walked over to his merch table and began shaking hands and selling merch.
I hadn’t seen Bachmann perform in quite a few years but glad I went. I like the more intimate venues and you almost can’t get more intimate than this. The living room show idea is a great one: no sleazy club managers or assholes in the crowd (and I’m sure if there were they’d be removed and given their money back). I’ll bet the artists enjoy it too. I’m gonna check the schedule for more of these but in the meantime, if Eric Bachmann comes to your town try and carve out some time to see him. He’ll make it worth your while.