Monday, June 27, 2011

Live Review - Pajama Club @ Bowery Ballroom

The last time Neil Finn played Bowery Ballroom it was to two sold out audiences with his band Crowded House. After a year, Finn returned with his wife Sharon and his new band and project - Pajama Club. Pajama Club, who are set to release their debut album in September are in the US for their debut tour and just a handful of shows in, they arrived to New York City. The band which is much more than the husband and wife duo also include keyboardist, programmer and guitarist Sean Donnelly and drummer Alana Skyring. While the room was filled out nicely, it was far from sold out but die hard fans of Finn, and I mean that when I say it, some people in the crowd flew up for the weekend from Florida, Georgia and Texas - they along with the New Yorkers were curious to hear what their hero was going to do with this new band as not much about them are known....until now.
Pajama Club take Neil Finn's extraordinary songwriting skills and mix it with pop-rock, ambient, electronica and sometimes dancehall. It has a very 80's club feel to what they are doing but also a very traditional radio friendly approach to each song. For the hour and twenty minutes Finn and his band were on stage, it was something new and organic to the fans in front of them, but they looked very into it and they were. What has to be said is that Finn and Donnelly would engage the crowd in hilarious on stage banter but that is what Finn is known for, the great moments that sprout in between songs. It was traditional Finn in the sense of how much fun he was having and how much he loves making music, no matter with who, but it was very unconventional for the sheer fact that everything was new to the audience so they could not shoot their traditional paper airplanes on stage and make requests. For a debut, Finn would even joke "New York City, Bowery Ballroom, headlining! Wow and this is our sixth gig!," realizing why everyone was in the room and making light of it. However, that is not to say he did not want to have the rest of Pajama Club enjoy the spotlight as he would trade off vocal duties with his wife, Donnelly would play guitar while Neil at points would play drums and Alana would play floor tom-toms. It was a musical adventure for everyone involved and it would all come full circle as Liam and Elroy Finn would join mom and dad on stage for the final number. As Neil Finn would wave to the crowd at the end, he looked so relaxed, not even caring if the night was a success or not, for him at this point in his career to have his kids old enough to play with him and his loving wife by his side, that is all he needs.