One Eyed Jacks
July 01, 2008
BY JASON SONGE
A little after 10, Royal Fingerbowl took the stage and started back into existence like years hadn't passed since their last public appearance. Sometimes life is like that. The most natural and valid and genuine things come back to you the easiest.
Alex McMurray might not have said a word before the Fingerbowl(+ keyboardist Bob Andrews, drummer Carlo Nuccio, and bassist/sousaphonist Matt Perrine) launched into their set, but he didn't have to. The crowd took care of all the heralding, the recognition of such a special night, by applauding ferociously and wooing much between each song, no matter what it was, whether a slow or mid-tempo or punkier one.
The band came to rule. They gave the crowd their $20 worth, both in performance quality and quantity. Fingerbowl played two sets, each one holding twenty-something songs. Close to the first set start, when McMurray told the crowd they weren't taking requests, and that everyone shouldn't worry about their favorite song being played because the band was gonna play every one but one, he wasn't joking. And actually, though I knew McMurray sounded sincere, I remember thinking, "That's impossible." But three to four hours later(it's hard to tell time in a black hole covered in beer), they had done it. Now, what was that one song?
The room was sparked and sparkling and vibrating with 150 to 200 people(near the middle of the first set, McMurray thanked the 14 Fingerbowl fans for bringing a friend). What a great feeling, to be among so many people elated to be where they were and nowhere else. It was like the world stopped and didn't exist outside of that show. And for good reason. Royal Fingerbowl is much beloved, a band that manages to capture the soul and spirit of the city, mixing blues with jazz, rock, and soul and more to the point that it's pointless to label them. They're just New Orleans music. They made me dance. They gelled wonderfully, their feel was fantastic(especially Nuccio), and the girls responded accordingly, dancing with each other if they had to.
It was great, for me, just to watch Nuccio play. He's so talented, and he's just THERE. I got the feeling that wherever McMurray wanted to detour to, Nuccio was gonna be right there with him, right there to anchor him. Wanna speed it up or get atmospheric or sad or slow or loud? He was gonna be there.