Gig Recap: Dirty Fingers Unplugged (2021.06.01)

Dirty Fingers 脏手指 – Bandai Namco 万代南梦宫 2021.06.01

I’m sure they are people out there who are scared to death of the direction that Dirty Fingers – the Shanghai punk stalwarts – are heading in. Scared that the erratic, unkempt, and explosive qualities that put them on the map are being snuffed out little by little. That they’ve softened their edges and have lost their bite. 

I say – fuck that noise. When given a bigger canvas, why the fuck not go bigger. Evolve, reassess, peel another layer – whatever you wanna call it – and enjoy it. Throw out curveballs when you feel the need to. Evoke your inner rock idols. Have your cake and eat it too. 

That’s precisely what Dirty Fingers did last night when they gave an unplugged orchestra-esque version of their new LP Planet Dominico Vivavilli – turning Bandai Namco into jazz lounge club – and having a couple of mercenary musicians (including Pz of Railway Suicide Club) fill out the band’s grander sound. Accordion, conga, violin, piano, keyboard – the stage was decked out in musical accessories as the band members jump around like a game of musical chairs, switching up their role in each song. It was a blast, and from the likes of it – a hell of a good time for the folks on stage. 

Loved how they able to give a fresh lease to each of the tracks – twisting and contorting their songs while retaining their core dynamism – and in many ways, capturing the sound on record more accurately than their live electric sets could ever. I loved the exotic grooves that seemed to seep their way into some of their tracks, and the various covers – from Railway Suicide Train’s JL Mountain to fucking Bill Withers’ ‘Ain’t No Sunshine,’ which threw the whole crowd for a loop. Even their updated Psycho Killer take – while losing its condescend punk rock aggression – still managed to dovetail into musical lunacy to my delight.  

It’s certainly not the Dirty Fingers I grew up on, and I’m not even sure I’d want to see this version of them any time again soon – but damn was it a memorable experience and a bold as hell way to present and reimagine your music.  

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