House of Blues
The Finn Brothers
August 03, 2004
My most treasured song on the silly amount of Pearl Jam bootlegs I bought in 2000 was "I Got You," a Split Enz song written by Neil Finn. It had heartfelt lyrics("I don't know why sometimes I get frightened/You can see my eyes and tell that I'm not lying") and a great driving, ominous melody. It was more straightforward and catchier than most Pearl Jam songs, and I think that's why I liked it so much.
On Tuesday night at the House of Blues, Neil and his brother Tim treated me to their version of "I Got You," which had a synthesized '80's feel that luckily didn't take away from the raw emotion in the song. New Zealanders Neil and Tim were both members of '70's and 80's rock group Spolit Enz, while Neil went on to success with Crowded House in the late '80's and '90's.
Last night, the brothers played hits from both bands, and they also introduced songs from their upcoming duo album.
In a way, I'm sad I wasn't more familiar with Crowded House and Spolit Enz going into the show. I probably would have enjoyed the songs more. Still, my lack of knowledge gave me great objectivity, and I loved the songs they played. There was only one song I wasn't into, which is a pretty good stamp of approval. The Finn Brothers are known for their prolific nature and their extraodinary songwriting abilities. The songs they played last night displayed their talent for sensitivity AND aggressiveness(energy, guitar solos), optimism and measured pessimism. Their harmonies were beautiful. Having a back-up singer adds so much to a song, and the band's vocal arrangements were smart and welcomed.
I talked to a woman before the show who travelled from Virginia just for the show. She was flying back this morning. Anyway, she compared the Finn Brothers' ability to Lennon and McCartney's. This seemed like a crazy statement before the show, but after the show it didn't seem so weird. The Finn Brothers had an uncanny ability to cut to the musical and emotional gist in a song. They were efficient. Once they simplified things, they built and went off on solos, joined by their lead guitarist.
Neil and Tim switched from the piano to acoustic and electric guitars all night. Tim, with his longer wavy grey hair, was the more gregarious of the two, jumping around with a tambourine and making rock motions. The crowd was into it--some screaming, but nothing crazy considering the under 30 contingent wasn't well represented.
Outside after the show, one guy said,(paraphrasing) "They sell a million copies of a record, and they don't play it?" Leave them wanting more, right?
The Finn Brothers were nice but spoke little on stage. They drank their hot tea, played their songs and came back for two encores. It was a great show, and I felt fulfilled as I left the venue. By the way, the brothers sounded immaculate. Hats off to the House of Blues for providing such a great sound system.
If you have a setlist or know more about the songs they played, e-mail the site, I'll add the feedback and credit you here.