It breaks my heart I couldn't go to this. Especially after watching this. ARGH. Video and words by Shae Moseley.
Despite a handful of technical difficulties, Liam Finn managed to thoroughly win over a modestly sized but enthusiastic crowd Thursday night at the Billiken Club. Finn blazed through an energetic set that included most of his debut album, I’ll Be Lightning, with his trademark charismatic charm, goofy stage banter and tightly wound, intense bursts of multiinstrumental mayhem.
Finn’s one-man-band approach incorporates the looping of bouncy, Beatles-esque bass lines and effects-laden psychedelic guitar leads -- and often culminates in the singer laying down a furious outburst of live drums. Such was the case Thursday with great versions of songs like “Second Chance” and “Better to Be.” But the true show-stopper was the unbridled, energetic “Lead Balloon,” which saw Finn first gyrating across the stage during a spontaneous-freakout of a guitar solo and then finally ending up in the crowd drawing some other-worldly sounds out of some kind of theremin-like noise box.
Eliza-Jane Barnes’ wispy harmony flourishes blended wonderfully with Finn’s voice and added another layer of emotional intensity. The duo seemed at home together trading smiles and glances from across the stage and exuded an infectious, positive attitude that certainly went a long way to charm the crowd by set’s end.
It’s easy to praise a performer who can completely win over an audience on a somewhat low-energy night, when a lot of people didn’t make it to the show -- and maybe some in the crowd weren’t really sure they wanted to go out in the first place. But Finn’s exuberant stage demeanor and informal, colloquial personality set the tone for a memorable and energetic performance.