LIVE: Finch @ The Underworld, London

By Tom Beck

For many fans Finch peaked over a decade ago now, their seminal album ‘What It Is To Burn’ still cited as a favourite. 2005’s ‘Say Hello To Sunshine’ was far less accessible though and the momentum slowed, leading to the band announcing their hiatus in 2006. Yet time is a great healer and there’s definitely an appetite for the Californian band in the UK again, their recent headline set at Brixton Academy testament to that. Sandwiched between label commitments and a headline slot at Hevy Festival the band play the ridiculously small Underworld in Camden and we are fortunate enough to head down there.

As chants of ‘Finch! Finch! Finch!’ ring out from the keen crowd the lights dim and the band launch straight into ‘New Beginnings’ and then quickly jump into ‘Letters To You’. It’s a huge opening combo and one which quickly re-assures those who questioned whether the set would be largely new material. In fact it ends up being the equivalent of a greatest hit set as the band mix ‘What It Is To Burn’ tracks such as ‘Grey Matter’ and ‘Perfection Through Silence’ fluidly with some of the more appealing ‘Say Hello’ tracks. The band are tight, energetic, and absolutely dripping in sweat by the time they rip through new track ‘Two Guns To The Temple’. It’s still a far cry from the instant hooks of their debut album but the majority of the crowd lap it up.

The pre-encore set finishes with ‘Ender’, a track that definitely deserves a larger audience than it’s being broadcast to. It’s as enthralling as ever and plays out with guitarist Randy, an interesting character to watch it must be said, creating a wall of effects on his gear. It’s a touch too long in truth but he seemed to be enjoying it. After a short break, whilst more chants of ‘Finch! Finch! Finch’ ring out, the band head back for ‘Worms of the earth’, the underrated ‘Bitemarks and bloodstains’ and crowd favourite ‘What It Is To Burn’. It signals the end of an incredible set from the band and a real statement of intent from them.

They’ll ultimately be judged on the quality of ‘Back To Oblivion’, released this September, but this whets the appetite nicely.