Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Live Review - Craig Finn @ Mercury Lounge

Fans of Craig Finn are used to his story-telling style of songwriting and his amazing stage banter, but Finn's fans are usually witnessing him perform with his main band - The Hold Steady. In one of his first New York shows as a solo artist, Craig Finn and his band Some Guns played the first of two sold-out shows in the same night at New York's tiny Mercury Lounge.

At the early show, Finn and Some Guns took the stage at 8 on-the-button and opened with "Apollo Baby," the first song off Finn's solo debut, Clear Heart Full Eyes. The title comes from the popular and now defunct TV show, Friday Night Lights. Finn, who has practically been on the road non-stop since 2006 with The Hold Steady took some time in the summer of 2011 and went to Austin, Texas to record his record. He linked up with local musicians who would eventually become Some Guns and released Clear Heart Full Eyes in January. The record is chock full of Finn's brilliant story telling yet, unlike his past work with Hold Steady or Lifter / Puller, Finn goes much more introspective than ever before, not telling stories of characters who are persona's of his personality or people he knows, but these songs and stories are all his and pages from his life.

At Mercury Lounge the crowd listened and held on to every word he said, and why shouldn't they? Everything Finn sings and talks about has happened to you before. He is much more than a guy in a band or songwriter, he is the biographer of your conscience. Unlike Finn's gigs with his other bands, his fans can attest that he uses his guitar basically as a prop, at Mercury Lounge, his acoustic was strapped on and never left his shoulders, he was also very sober and not sloshed as he tends to get playing with his day job band. For the hour and fifteen minutes Finn and Some Guns were on stage he performed songs off his debut, new songs and of spoke of connecting with people as a fan and artist, love and heartbreak, moving from the suburbs to the big city and everything in between. For his solo show in New York, a sober Craig Finn was clear headed and full hearted and brought a whole room to its knees.