Fink at Space

By Ben Moskow

Photos by Connie Deng

28 Sep, 2019

Bristol, England’s Fink is one of those artists who you may not know by name, but chances are you’ve heard his work. A seasoned veteran of the music industry, Fink played a crucial role in the success of Amy Winehouse, writing her first demos. He has a staggering discography, releasing music on a consistent basis since the late 90s. Numerous British adverts and TV shows, in addition to several popular Spotify playlists such as Deep Dark Indie and Chill as Folk, have featured Fink’s work. Over two decades after his first commercial release, he has another new project coming out on October 25 entitled Bloom Innocent. After stopping at Schuba’s Tavern in Belmont in the past, Fink chose Evanston SPACE to host his Solo Acoustic tour.

If you were wondering where the parents of all the kids at the Lizzo, Chance the Rapper and Clairo concerts that also took place in Chicago on September 28, they were likely at SPACE. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone born after 1990 in the audience. A whole lot of white middle-aged Chicagoland residents stood in their flannels and khakis with their recreational IPAs to take in Fink’s set. Clad in all black and sporting a mountain man beard, Fink sat atop an elevated platform with an amp, three guitars and a mic. The man is not one for gimmicks.

Fink’s warm performance coupled with the wooden ambiance of SPACE gave off the aura of a rustic ski lodge. His songs regularly exceeded five minutes, but his soothing baritone over acoustic noodling made the time go by fast; truly the embodiment of “easy listening.” His set traveled all through time, featuring songs from six different albums. The space felt coziest when star-shaped disco lights cascaded over the barn-shaped roof as he played a track from his upcoming album. 

Fink charmed the crowd by telling little stories between each song and sipping from a white mug: “What are you drinking?” “Tea!” Fans responded with good old-fashioned applause after each song, a rarity in today’s tradition of shouting at the top of one’s lungs after a break in the action. More popular songs like “Yesterday Was Hard on All of Us” and “Looking Too Closely” prompted the crowd to whisper-sing along, considerately not overpowering Fink. 

The audience did their fair share of calling out to Fink in between songs. Perhaps this was inspired by the proximity of the stage to the crowd. The exclamation that took the cake was one man who felt empowered enough to yell “You gave us a baby!” to him as he played the introductory chords to “Maker.”

Knowing the limitations of Evanston SPACE – there is no backstage, so nowhere to hide – his encore was very tongue-in-cheek: “I’m going to play [Looking Too Closely.] When I finish, I’m going to take a bow, turn around for a little while, then I’ll sit back down and play one more.” He concluded with “Berlin Sunrise,” a song he said was about how he planned to move to Berlin to lose himself and ended up finding himself. 

Twenty years into his career, Fink continues to carry a live show well. On Saturday night, he allowed himself to be vulnerable and the crowd at SPACE enjoyed every second.

SETLIST

  1. We Watch the Stars
  2. Pills in my Pocket
  3. Sort of Revolution
  4. Cracks Appear
  5. Walkin’ in the Sun
  6. Pilgrim
  7. Maker
  8. Warm Shadow
  9. Yesterday Was Hard on All of Us
  10. Wheels
  11. Looking Too Closely
  12. Berlin Sunrise