Finch Warehouse Live - Studio October 23, 2013
Nostalgia is a funny thing.
As someone who writes about music, I'm inclined to believe that the trend of bands going out and playing their big records live is a bad one. Not that I don't want fans to get what they want, just my brain thinks these tours are lazy cash-grabs. As a fan, I love them, and the only thing my heart wants to know is when The Get Up Kids will give in and do a Something to Write Home About tour.
So if the idea of a band as small as Finch hitting the road to play an album that peaked at No. 99 on the Billboard 200 sounds ludicrous to you, I understand. I wouldn't even call you a cynic for wondering if the show would be any good.
The thing is, What It Is to Burn is an easy album to fall in love with if you like that style of sad-sack post-hardcore. It's got songs that stick with you, even if you haven't listened to them in years.
They're also really fun to scream out loud, especially when you're on a nostalgia high.
Playing an album live takes the guesswork out of the live music enjoyment equation. Fans don't have to worry if the band is going to play certain songs, and they don't have to go through those odd lulls waiting to find out what's next on the set list. They know the songs, they know what order they're coming in, and as such they can stop wondering and give in to the music.
And give in they did. "New Beginnings" starts off the album and therefore started off the show, and right from the start the fans were in to it, arms raised up, words sung out loud.
To their credit, the band was in good form. They perform like a band that hasn't played the exact same show dozens of times, one that seems happy to be playing the songs and not burdened by them. That excitement wasn't just limited to the stage; more than just the standard "front man gets on the barrier to get close to the crowd" move. At one point guitarist Randy Strohmeyer ended up in the mosh pit with the fans, rocking out alongside them.
So "mosh pit" isn't a phrase I've had to use in a review in forever (if ever), but in the spirit of nostalgia a group of fans went all in, digging up their best old-school moves and putting them out on the dance floor. There were windmills and circle pits, a giant four-man slow dance during "Ender," one brave soul who did a handstand into the crowd, and a few people doing what I believe was a variation of the Russian flower dance from Fantasia.
It was a fun crowd, one that was willing to fully embrace getting to hear the songs that had worked a way in to their heart. They screamed right back at singer Nate Barcalow, who ten years later still has the vocal chops to pull off the melodies and the screams the album features.
It was a late show, but the fans who sat through all three opening acts were with the band until the very end. The band delivered, from the opening guitar lines of "New Beginnings" to the final cathartic screams of "What It Is to Burn." If you're a fan, it's a dream type of show.
Review continues on the next page.
Now, my brain will tell you that as fun as it was, when I wake up in the morning with no sleep and no voice, I'm going to realize what a bad decision I made. But I'm going to tell you that's a lie. Nostalgia is more than just embracing the silly things you once loved, it's about embracing the person you used to be. And old me had no problem staying up late and losing my voice and being tired the next day. Old me loved that shit.
Current me does too, at least for one night, when I let my heart take the lead.
These things happen. Like I said, nostalgia is a funny thing.
Personal Bias: "What It Is to Burn" is my favorite breakup record of all time, and I have fond memories of listening to it during not so fond moments in my life.
The Crowd: Loud, full of energy, not afraid to get a few bruises along the way. Also, someone was dressed up like a cat.
Overheard In the Crowd: "We're here for the good show," said someone pointing over to the Finch show and away from the Sleeping With Sirens show that was happening in the Warehouse Live ballroom.
Random Notebook Dump: I know it doesn't hurt to have a reminder, but if you're playing the same songs every night, in the same order, in album order, do you really need to keep printing out set lists?
So How Was the Opener?: Dance Gavin Dance are more popular than I realized, and a good third of the crowd left after they performed and never came back. My brain will tell you they play perfectly acceptable post-hardcore/[insert applicable genres here], and my heart wished I had stayed next door longer.
So How Was the Show Next Door?: Breathe Carolina's "live electronics" rig ate it during one of the songs and the show ground to a halt for like five minutes. It was awkward, but the kids don't seem to care. As much as the critical part of me knows I should hate it, I kind of dig the fact that use trap and dubstep beats as transitions between songs. It's completely absurd, but it works. Besides, it's not like mixing electronics and hardcore is really that weird; I did just write 800-plus words on a band that has at least two songs with electronic breaks in them.
And who knows, maybe for some of the kids in attendance Breathe Carolina will be the gateway drug to real rock music.
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