Though she’s been known to highlight and flirt with Americana, Fino’s underlying ethic has always been– and I dare say will continue to be– punk. Coronated by Patti Smith with a kiss on the forehead from the stage when she was eight, through her playlists: Bikini Kill, the Germs, the Clash… well, if you don’t get the point by now, you should stop reading this and just check out her next hell raising show.
The body count may have been small in Mercury’s dark back room, but her band – right hand man/keyboardist Ryan Shapiro, bassist Pat O’Neill and drummer John Wert – embedded the songs into her followers and new converts with a crackling energy that defined her hour set. “The Devil Says,” a driving rocker, broke the ice and the game was on! The newer “Sorry” served as a potent intro to the roller coaster, “Touch Me,” Fino’s guitar and Shapiro’s keys powering the riff for all its worth and then some. “California Debutante,” admittedly not one of my RoFi faves, boasted a new energy and real-time vulnerability that instantly brought the song up in the ranks. Maybe it was her vocals, becoming more nuanced and tested with each passing gig, or her guitar, I don’t know, but something struck me on many levels. It also struck many in the standing crowd, as the applause continued into the next song, a pop/punk collision called “Take You With Me.” A walloping take on “Gloria” brought the ecstasy level up several notches. It was good to see people stopping at her merch table and actually buying EPs and shirts. Fino and the Lovely Misfits continue to make typhoon waves throughout New York. Catch one.
– Mike Jurkovic