I like to be up front with you guys, you know that: a few years ago, I picked up Liam Finn’s debut album, I’ll Be Lightning, because he was Neil Finn’s son, and I do love me some Crowded House. Happily, Liam is just as talented as his dad, in completely different ways, and so I fell in love with him on his own merits. Last night’s show at the Casbah, in support of this year’s excellent FOMO, just confirmed that: Liam is a whirling dervish of looped guitars and singing with his hands and banging furiously away at one of two drum kits on stage, and one of the most staggeringly compelling performers I’ve seen in a long time. Like Malkmus a few weeks ago, I was hard pressed to take my eyes off him on stage, because I never knew what he was going to do next — pick up a guitar, start it looping, sit down at the drum kit? Flail away at his guitar and bark clever and cryptic lyrics from the mic in the center of the stage? I had no idea; the show was a perpetual surprise, and that delighted me.
It was magic to watch Liam — and his band, though I’ve heard his solo no band show, where he loops and plays all the parts himself, is even more fascinating — drag all his instruments through the complex and noisy and fierce music he makes. It was a magical show, all colored lights and whirling musicians and big noise. I was thrilled to be part of it.
Thanks to Courtney at Yep Roc Records, I was also privileged enough to spend some time shooting Liam before the show, while he recorded a short video piece for Yep Roc’s social media department. More shots from the show, including several of opener Marques Toliver (who loops a violin much in the manner of Owen Pallett, and as well), and the pre-show shoot, behind the jump, and the full set is here.