This may be the week I'm making up for past concert omissions, what with finally catching a Destroyer show and trying to compensate for the Liam Finn gigs I should've been attending for the past several years. You can expect more compensatory concert reports in the weeks to come, but for now, check out Liam Finn's return to the Independent.
Liam Finn, the Independent, March 24, 2011: As an entrenched Gen Xer, I have more than a few complaints about Gen Y, but sometimes I'm reminded that those generalizations are off-base, just as they are when any net is cast wide across a heterogeneous culture. For example, my cousin bucks the stereotype, as does Liam Finn (coincidentally, they're born in the same year)--that is, neither acts the lazy, entitled brat I've come to associate with their age range.
Obviously, I know one of the aforementioned Gen Yers better than the other, but I like what I've seen of Liam, especially his energy, earnestness, and enthusiasm. You won't find him listlessly slouching in corner, pretending not to care about the crowd's reaction or enjoyment. Instead, you'll notice Liam's eager-to-please stage presence, accompanied by his amiable banter with both the audience and his bandmates. Elsewhere, he's a total dynamo, catapulting from guitar to drums to a theremin-seeming thing (what I imagine it to the contraption that grants its owner either a million dollars or free cable for life, even if someone has to die for it). Though his looping expertise and musical dexterity are more modern talents, his songwriting instincts are classic and timeless. It's a fascinating and eminently watchable combination.
In a departure from their last outing, the lovely E.J. was absent, but Liam dedicated a song to her. Instead, Liam was backed by two new guitarists and another drummer; coincidentally, that last fellow turned out to be his brother Elroy, whom I last saw engaged in three-part beer bottle harmonies. The latest iteration played a mix of older tracks and a bunch of songs off his forthcoming record.
I haven't seen the two-person incarnation enough to compare their performance with that of this new, proper band--you've been warned on any judgments that may follow. Obviously, the sound was fuller with four musicians in play, and Liam made sure everyone had their own solo opportunity, including himself. I especially loved the double-drum barrage from the two younger Finn brothers, and there was one new song with a particularly lovely bridge that reminded me of yet another family member. They also pulled off a Beatles medley of "Mean Mr. Mustard," "Polythene Pam," and "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window." As for the new tunes, I'm horrible at describing unreleased tracks, but rest assured it's not the death metal that Liam indicated onstage.
Liam claimed we were the first encore of the tour, as no one else had cheered convincingly enough for them to return to the stage. More specifically, he called us, with utter affection, "the best fuckers." Liam kicked off the encore by himself before the remaining band members took their places for an all-out chaotic jam, complete with instrument swaps, alternate vocals, and nonsensical chants. For all his precocious talent and exploration, in moments like that, Liam and the gang didn't seem much different from legions of other young artists across the globe, except that we got to witness the fun too.
» a little energy spent
» above you and beyond me too