Finch – Sheffield Octagon

By paul

If there is one gig that I’ve been eagerly waiting to see, then it will have been this one. Finch, The Starting Line and New Found Glory, all on the same bill. I’ve been championing Finch ever since I first heard the fantastic ‘Letters To You’. The ‘Falling Into Place’ EP came out, blew me away and from then on my love for the band just grew. New CD ‘What It Is To Burn’ is superb, so how would the band transfer their live energy to the stage? The answer – with ease…

This supporting jaunt with NFG is the first time Finch have made it to the UK, and having already played big venues in the US on the back of the success of single ‘Letters To You’, they look well at ease with the stage and 800+ crowd. Their third gig of the tour, I had heard mixed reviews about the opening two nights, but I needn’t have worried. Finch were almost spot-on.

Opening with the bonus track on the new record, ‘What It Is To Burn’ is perhaps a strange choice, but the band blast it out to a fairly unsuspecting crowd, possibly expecting another identikit pop-punk band. But as soon as Nate Barcalow screams “she burns,” you know there is a little bit more to this So-Cal fivesome than simple up-tempo songs about girls. Guitarist Randy, or R2K as he prefers to be known as, is a tangled mess throughout; jumping, twisting and generally acting like a maniac. Nate himself is also leaping around like a crazed loon, putting absolutely everything into the performance. And the way he switches from singing to the most piercing of screams is unbelievable. Dynamically Finch have it spot-on, even if it’s not appreciated by all of the crowd. Some of the idiots behind me heckled throughout which was completely unnecessary. If you don’t like them, don’t listen. Just don’t ruin it for everyone else.

‘Post Script’ is also hammered out with precision, with vocals switching between Nate and Randy. Again the dynamics are breathtaking, one minute heavier than lead, the next sweet and sensitive. ‘Grey Matter’ is just pure brute force, proving that Drive Thru bands can do hardcore just as well as they do pop-punk. Kenny from The Starting Line lends a hand on vocal duties, but things get even heavier with ‘Project Mayhem’ which is just absolutely beserk. How Nate can get such a bowel moving sound out of such a tiny frame is amazing. Sandwiched in between the two was an as-yet-untitled new song, which hints at the band moving into more melodic territory. It still has all the hallmarks of Finch, the quiet/loud bits and the brilliant vocals, but it sounds like a more mature band.

I think ‘Three Simple Words’ was played at some point too, but being so absorbed in such a great performance, I can’t really remember. One song they did play though was ‘Letters To You’, one of the best songs I’ve heard in ages. It’s also a track with is destined to be all over MTV2 very soon. Introduced by Randy as “an English American singalong”, it unfortunately seemed to again go over the heads of many, which is a shame as Finch blasted this out with such emotion and brute force that it really did mean something. The best Finch song tonight hands down and amongst a myriad of great performances, that is really saying something.

There were a couple of minor faux pas. The set as a whole didn’t quite flow brilliantly and if only two of the other members had put the effort into it like Nate and Randy, you’d have a five star performance. Technically brilliant, everything except the ‘x’ factor is here. At the merch counter at the end of the set, copies of the new CD were selling faster than hotcakes. I think that is all the proof you need. Finch – today Sheffield, tomorrow the world…

Paul Savage