The Sweet Sound of Silence

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Liam Finn/The Veils
Bowery Ballroom

It takes a hell of a lot to get an entire room full of people loaded with drinks to shut the fuck up. It's never made much sense that people pay to go to concerts and then proceed to talk through the entire show, including the headliner. Occasionally, they may take a break from conversation to hear the one or two songs they're their for and whistle with approval, but only for a second. Sometimes the band has a hard to even hearing themselves over the insane chattering of the inconsiderate crowds.

Liam Finn was well aware of this when he decided to attempt a the part acappella lullaby as part of his encore. Fin told the crowd that the only possible way they could make this beautiful song work was if it was dead silent in the room. Amazingly, silence came rather quickly. (Of course there was plenty of shsssshing before the silence. When will people learn that shsssshing actually makes noise).

What followed was something totally breathtaking. The young son of Crowded House's Neil Finn had already wowed the Bowery crowd with an amazing rock frenzy, and this was just a really special extra treat.

Having already built a solid reputation in his native New Zealand, it was the first night of Liam's first ever headline tour in America. The 23 year old proved every bit worthy of the honor by blowing us amazing with his mastery of loops and sequencers and overall technical chops. Finn would often build up his songs by playing and looping multiple layers of guitars and drums, all while singing lead vocals. For most of the set, the only help he got on stage came from the mega-talented Eliza-Jane Barnes, who provided multi-layered backup vocals and percussion.

Fellow New Zealanders, The Veils are joining Liam Finn on the road, and were no less spectacular on Thursday night. With a new record on the way, the quartet's short set consisted entirely mainly of new material, though they did work in terrific fan favorites "Colliope" and "Jesus for the Jugular." Finn Andrews once again proved to have one of the best voices in all of rock, delivering his lyrics with a greater emotional urgency than anyone I've ever seen. Set closer "Not Yet" was a perfect end to the set with swirling guitars lying over a galloping rhythm, and Andrew finest vocal performance of the night. The only thing lacking in translation from the studio to the live setting is the keyboards, which are quite prevalent on record.

The Veils will be back in New York on October 11 for a headline performance at new Brooklyn venue, [The Bell House]. This is your best chance to catch them before everyone realizes just how amazing they are, and they start playing larger venues.

Photos by [Jonny-Leather]

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