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Fake Problems Cuts to the Chase

July 2nd, 2009

Fake Problems – Mercury Lounge – July 1, 2009

Fake Problems - Mercury Lounge - July 1, 2009
In an age of cookie-cutter bands, Fake Problems has truly created a sound all its own. Some call it folk-punk, as singer Chris Farren’s husky growl is reminiscent of Chuck Ragan’s (Hot Water Music) and Ben Nichols’ (Lucero), but what makes this Naples, Fla., quartet stand alone is not only its ability to stray its sound from such a limiting genre tag, but it’s done without sounding like a hot mess.

Both on record and live, Fake Problems includes much more diverse instrumentation than many of its peers. At last night’s Mercury Lounge show, bassist Derek Perry hopped all over the stage, his lanky body lunging back and forth with each chord played. A set of bongos—which the keyboardist played with drumsticks—and drums rounded out the rhythm section. And a trumpet player completed Fake Problems’ lineup.

Although the band played only a 40-minute set (despite having two full-lengths and an EP), the time spent onstage was well done. A few one-sentence song introductions and a couple shout-outs to guitarist Casey Lee, who was not present due to a family emergency, was all the crowd heard from Farren that wasn’t in song. The title track from 2007’s How Far Our Bodies Go, introduced by Farren as a “sing-along,” got perhaps the best crowd reaction of the night, with the simple melody of “The Dream Team”—the single off the band’s most recent release, It’s Great to Be Alive—coming in at a close second. Fake Problems has already been heralded as this year’s Gaslight Anthem, and surely it won’t playing as intimate a place as Mercury Lounge on its next Northeast trek. —Kirsten Housel

Photos courtesy of Kirsten Housel