Tuesday night Kiwi rocker Liam Finn went outright insane on the stage, in an act that was anything but ordinary. This has to be the first (or at least the first weekday) show I have ever attended where an artist tore off their shirt mid-set and threw it out to the crowd. Whether anyone in the crowd really wanted his sweaty shirt is beyond the point, Liam Finn’s live set is definitely a unique experience.
If the surname Finn sounds familiar it might be because he is the son of Neil Finn, well known New Zealand recording artist and and frontman of Crowded House. Like his father, his lyrics often have a dreamy pop quality to them and he backs up the vocals with biting indie rock guitar riffs. Sometimes I hear elements of The Shins or even 60s British Invasion rock. Other times electronic elements enhance the pop qualities, much like Dale Earnhardt Jr Jr. Finn was joined by four other musicians and backup singers for his live performance, playing mostly new songs off his recently released album The Nihilist.
The set started off relatively calm as the singer played dreamy single “Snug as Fuck” around three songs in.
Soon after though, things got weird, as he shed his jacket and collared shirt for a multicolored rhinestone mini jacket. Finn jumped down among the crowd so he could alternatively dance with the crowd and toss himself on the floor as he sang. He also brought out a bizarre piece of equipment that looked like a giant, old school gaming joystick, and created ear-piercing tones with distortion.
Finn ended his set with an incredible, live rendition of “Burn Up the Road,” giving the crowd everything he had, throwing his whole body into each stroke of the guitar strings. I could have listened to that song 10 times in a row and still got a thrill every single time. Seeing Liam Finn is more an experience than a concert and I doubt any two shows end up being the same.