Liam Finn w/The Veils
Rock and Roll Hotel
September 6, 2008
The Veils? Yeah
Liam Finn? Present
DC Rock Club? Yes, present, thank you
Item one: show review.
Stop the presses! It's an Aussie invasion and Washington, DC unconditionally surrenders! Following in the giant footsteps of luminaries Yahoo Serious, Jocko, Paul Hogan, Steve Irwin, men from Down Under Liam Finn and The Veils put a giant shrimp on our live music barbie on September 6....
Wait, hold on.
I've just been informed that "New Zealand" is in fact a separate country from Australia and not a slave colony as I had previously thought. My bad. Let me start over.
Alert! Alert! Mayday! Kiwi rock stars take Washington DC through strategy! Not since the days of, ummm, the butt-fuck-a-sheep-while-wearing-an-Orc-costume craze of 2003 has this plucky island nation sunk their marsupial claws into our national heart!
Well, I was crazy for it. And it wasn't just me, okay?
Okay, my first impression from this show was the giant tour bus parked outside Rock and Roll Hotel. That's always an indication that you're dealing with professionals. And not only was the bus huge, and shiny, but there was also a hitch attached. Seeing that got me fairly excited. I'm always a little more psyched up when foreign bands roll into town because if you can afford to do an international tour then you must be something special. Whoa, whoa...not you, Canadians. I'm talking about real foreigners, here.
The Veils went on first and I believe I missed about two songs, which I later regretted, because they only played for about 25 minutes. Unfortunate because they sounded great--it's no secret that 2006's Nux Vomica is an excellent album, and I was looking forward to hearing a lot of those tracks live. Sacklunch saw this band last year at DC9 and said they were pretty solid. The brevity of the set did not detract from the quality of what they played: "Calliope" and "Not Yet" were standouts. I wanted to hear "Advice For Young Mothers To Be"--did they play it in the beginning of the set? Someone help me out here. Potsy later spoke to the bassist after the set and she indicated they'd have a new album coming out this fall, so there's something to look forward to. Lead singer Finn Andrews stuck around to catch the headliners--he looks like a slightly healthier Pete Doherty, although there are 92-year-old Pennsylvania coal miners with black lung who would qualify as "slightly healthier than Pete Doherty." Andrews always wears a hat which makes me think he's hiding something--baldness, swastika tatoo on skull, ringworm...could be anything. I should have "accidentally" knocked it off and gotten to the bottom of things.
Headliner Liam Finn took the stage shortly after the Veils vapor trail had dissipated. It was just him and bandmate Eliza-Jane Barnes, sharing duties on multiple instruments. The man writes some very catchy songs--"Energy Spent" and "Better to Be" are gems, and "Second Chance" sounded pretty good as well. Lowlight was "Birthday" by the Beatles--I love the Beatles but that song's just annoying. Don't cover it. Finn redeemed himself when he played Neil Young's "Old Man" towards the end of the set, this time adding two mop-haired young fellows to round out the band. The extra sound worked well, and begs the question as to why Finn and his ladyfriend split time on four or five instruments. He probably can't afford a full band, because he spent all his money on the bitchin' tour bus.
"Better to Be," Liam Finn (I'll Be Lightning, 2007)
Special bonus video below: a compilation of all the Flight of the Conchords band meeting attendance-takings. Enjoy: