Finch – Leeds Cockpit

By paul

I love Finch, me. As if you didn’t already know that. ‘What It Is To Burn’ is my album of the year, a record which mixes a number of genres together in potent fashion, coming up with an emotive blend of melodic hardcore that is as poppy as it is aggressive. In one second Finch switch from the gorgeous to the desperate – and I love it. On their first proper UK headlining tour Finch have brought across two other rising US bands, both very inventive and very different to a lot of other bands out there. It couldn’t be a bad gig. It wasn’t.

I hadn’t been acquainted with FROM AUTUMN TO ASHES before tonight and they weren’t quite how I expected them. These New York bruisers blast out some of the most vicious metalcore the Cockpit has probably ever seen and more than a handful head to the bar after the first song. Technically superb musicians, but metalcore has never been my thing and FATA didn’t convince me to check them out. With dual vocals between the drummer and vocalist, the more melodic parts of their set I enjoyed, but the brutal screaming which dominated began to grate on me and to be honest each track began to sound the same. But there can be no doubting the power and the intensity the band portray, even if I didn’t particularly enjoy it. (6)

However, the same cannot be said of the awesome COHEED AND CAMBRIA, who take to the stage like rabid dogs and rock out through a powerful, and at times awe-inspiring, set. Having only received their ‘The Second Stage Turbine Blade‘ cd just three days prior, I only knew a few songs but their set is as entertaining as almost any band I’ve seen this year. Although following a post-hardcore script similar to Finch in the fact that there’s plenty of loud/quiet dynamics, C&C have one of the most charismatic, and frankly weird looking, frontmen around with Claudio not only looking like the Colombian footballer Carlos Valderama, but having a mystique around him that begs attention. In between playing guitar with his teeth, C&C belt out ‘Time Consumer’ and ‘Everything Evil’ with gusto and ‘Devil In Jersey City‘ is fantastic. Mixing more traditional styles of music with a twisted genre all of their own, the band’s take on life is inventive and a bit damn good. Well worth checking out if you haven’t already. (8)

But the band everyone has come to see is FINCH and boy do they not disappoint. Walking onstage before ripping straight into ‘New Beginnings’, the Cockpit is left a sweaty mess as 50 or so kids down the front lose themselves. ‘Letters To You’ follows next as everyone screams the place down, phenomenal really for a song that hasn’t been released over here at all, for a band that haven’t released a video in the UK and whose record has only been out over here a couple of months. Of course it’s as spine-tingly fantastic as it is on record, but then you already knew that. ‘Grey Matter’ is visceral and ‘Three Simple Words’ absolutely mindblowing – I don’t think I’ve ever been as absorbed in a song as I was at that moment – and ‘Awake’ and ‘Perefection Through Silence‘ sound fantastic too. Finch have never been the chattiest of bands and only Randy speaks tonight, bar the odd interjection from the demure Nate. Although no new tracks are aired Finch seem to treat the set as if fans haven’t really heard their stuff before, with the album played basically in order save two songs. But with the number of people in attendance I think Finch have mistaken how popular they are over here and sets like this will only boost their appeal. Leaving after 40 minutes they return for a two song encore. ‘Ender’ is a gorgeous lighters-in-the-air moment until the whole band kicks in, but it is a vicious ‘What It Is To Burn’ that ends things on a high note. When Nate’s bowels shift as he screams “she burns” it once again hits the spot and you know you have witnessed something rather special. And talk about sweaty… A year ago no-one could have predicted how big this band actually could be in the UK, but with performances like this world domination cannot be too far away. Album number two is vital, but on this account it cannot fail. (10)

Three exciting bands, two of which were excellent – great value for ΒΆΕ“7. If you have a ticket for this tour then you’re in for a treat, if not catch them in March 2003 when they headline bigger venues because Finch are the best band in the world right now – hands down.