Dirty Fingers 脏手指 live at Modern Sky was quite a home-coming show
Having first seen them 8 years ago in raw form and with a tiny crowd, it is more than clear that Dirty Fingers have moved onto bigger and greater things … and their audience… where have they come from? 20 has become 2000. When? How?
They have finally and deservedly found their audience, selling out Modern Sky in Shanghai on 9th October. Indeed, I wasn’t properly prepared for this moment. Waiting for the band to start I made my way down to just in front and slightly aside the sound booth. In other words pretty far back. Almost before they played the first note, the entirety of the standing section was moshing. I’d never seen moshing across the entirety of the floor before and it was so unexpected half my gin and tonic went over my gig buddy. All those years ago, when they came to play Ningbo, it was generally an older and more foreign audience reminiscing about punk bands back in their various homelands … things have changed, and for the better. The Chinese kids have new heroes.
Undoubtedly on top of their game, the rawness still pervades. Still jangly riffs combined with infectious and at times discordant bass lines that, in my view, actually form the main craft behind the sound. Still full on drums, technically on-point and still rasping-punk vocals with edgy frontmanship. They still cover Psycho Killer, although at hyper-speed nowadays. The show, of course, is slicker and the sound quality is upped (due to the quality of the venue). There are fewer impromptu moments as a result during the show (no semi-nudity or rolling around in spare tyres), but that, it is assumed, happens when you ‘make it’.
Ultimately, there’s a definite sense of maturity within the band and the new show. Indeed, a search on Spotify shows only 脏手指 and not Dirty Fingers, the English translation. This may be for practical reasons (not being able to tour outside China at present), but is also a statement in itself. It’s not that the band lacked confidence in the past, but perhaps a sense of positioning and quite probably missing, or waiting for that connection with the audience they were sort of always meant to connect with, but who weren’t quite ready of them. I think this is commonly known as being ahead of one’s time.
Listen to 脏手指 / Dirty Fingers on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/2ogByTbIUBTWL5h4w9GDrW?si=Q4hsofw2QmuCqKsVbJ2G7A