Sensory Overload: Fingers mix punchlines and pathos at Ace of Cups

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From the January 23, 2014 edition

“There are … things you always see at a Fingers show,” said singer/bassist Vincent Valentino near the close of the trio’s 40-minute set at Ace of Cups on a recent Thursday. “One of them is hair, and one of them is equipment malfunction.”

Attendees were exposed to plenty of the former (the three impressively coifed bandmates could have stepped direct off the set of a shampoo commercial) and just a touch of the latter (singer/guitarist Yashi Bellomy struggled briefly with a busted capo) on an evening where the crew breezed through nine diverse cuts that veered between twitchy, prog-influenced numbers and vaguely psychedelic blues burners.

Lyrically, the songs appeared to draw on the difficulties and confusion of being in your 20s and trying desperately to figure your station in life. On one tune, Bellomy howled about feeling misunderstood, even as the music coalesced around him into a furious blues boogie. A second number, “Gas Boy,” touched on the frustration of slogging away at a meaningless job. But while the lyrics depicted a man gradually being worn down by the day-to-day grind, the music itself sounded free and untethered, Bellomy uncorking a winding solo that weaved through traffic like an airport-bound taxi frantically trying to deliver a passenger to the gate on time.

While the music sometimes delved into larger themes, between songs the bandmates kept things light. Valentino jokingly urged fans to cheer the crew on with “spirit Fingers” — a move Kirsten Dunst’s “Bring It On” character certainly would have applauded — and after Bellomy’s guitar produced an ear-splitting burst of feedback, Valentino, without missing a beat, said, “That was a new song called ‘Squeak.’”

While this humor occasionally surfaced in the songs (“Gas Boy,” for one, mixed pathos with punchlines), more often than not the band had a tendency to dig deeper. On “Stay for Days” Bellomy warned of ill-weather (“Here it comes, here comes the rain…”) while drummer Max Slater laid down a beat that mimicked heavy drops rhythmically slapping the sidewalk. By the song’s close these showers had progressed into a full-on, wind-whipped storm. Of course, even these dark clouds eventually dissipated, giving way to a soaring, sunny closer that suggested the best is yet to come.