San Francisco Bath House
Liam Finn announced himself as a solo artist with 2007's I'll Be Lightning and a relentless touring schedule, appearing on American TV shows, at festivals and regularly here at home.
He used a loop pedal to create a one-man-band sound, moving between guitar and drums - then spread himself thinly across an EP, touring with Crowded House and creating the side-project BARB.
This year he released FOMO, the follow-up to Lightning. It shows Finn developing as a songwriter - where he's always had the energy and conviction as a live performer, now his catalogue of quality material is growing.
This version of a Liam Finn live show had brother Elroy playing drums, Jol Mulholland on bass and frequent Finn collaborator EJ Barnes contributing percussion, autoharp and vocals.
But it was Liam's show - now the full band sound means the loop-pedal is clever and effective without descending to a gimmick. His rhythm guitar playing is chunky and sets up the frame for so many of the songs.
Material from Lightning and the new album had the audience whipping itself in to a frenzy - and Liam Finn loved it; stage-diving during the final moments, giving songs an extra kick when he thrashed along on a second set of drums; strangling guitar solos from the neck of his axe.
His live playing is so well honed every song is perfectly delivered; there is the hook that grabs you, there is the chance to sing along, to bond with the song - finally there is the explosion, the pop and rock flavours filled to burst.
Liam Finn has the potential to be a world beater - another set of songs behind him, more growth. Right now he is an exciting, edgy live performer who knows what to give his audience. It was a proud musical statement; the best live set I've seen him deliver.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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