Craig Finn told what has to be the most Chapel Hill story ever last night before he got started on his set: he was excited to watch the Carolina/Duke game in Chapel Hill, but he didn’t realize you had to get somewhere three hours early to get a table. So he wandered around Carrboro, watching the game through restaurant and bar windows. And when he finally found a place to stand, two creepy guys eyed him, and he tried not to look like he was with them, and then when they were leaving, one of them leaned over and said, Don’t you have any friends?
I love that story. It’s funny and a little dark and a little sad, and very Chapel Hill. It’s very Craig Finn. If the rest of the show had been awful, that story would have made the show. Happily, the rest of the show was fantastic; Craig Finn is, as always, the most charming and compelling on stage, a great frontman no matter his band. The songs from Clear Heart Full Eyes sound, live, like some of the late Lifter Puller songs, which I love without reserve. Finn’s songwriting is wrenching and clever and honest; “Jackson” was probably the highlight of the evening for me, torn through without reserve and without pretense.
It was the best kind of night there can be.
Full set is here.