Liam FInn's Last Murmuration Residency Show at The Rock Shop

Written by  Published in Live Reviews Tuesday, 31 January 2012 19:20


Monday was the final show of Liam Finn’s Murmuration residency at The Rock Shop. It definitely felt like he had made The Rock Shop his home, full of friends, inside jokes, and freedom to jam and riff and try out some new music. Liam was immediately affable, addressing the packed room as if we were all just hanging out in his practice space, but really gave the people a rock show.

For the most part, his songs are actually pretty straightforward and simple. Sure, they also contain some great lyrical lines, but what makes them special - aside from the fact that music is basically in his DNA - is his performance of them. If it wasn’t for the way he jumps from guitar to drums back to guitar to climbing on amps to joking with the audience like we’re all old friends…well, it just wouldn’t be a Liam Finn show. This means that you could probably see him every time he played (and there were people who did attend every Monday performance of his residency), and you would get a completely different show. It’s like he tailors each show to the vibe of the crowd, the feedback he gets, and whatever’s on his mind at the time. And man, can he wail on a drum kit.


What was also cool about this show was how it steadily increased in intensity and excitement, but there was plenty of interaction the whole way through. At first it was just Liam, looping his own guitar riffs and then jumping on drums. He asked us to yell out whatever we felt like yelling after he played a drum fill, and then played that whole sample backwards so we could hear what we sounded like, backwards. He asked for suggestions on cool guitar riffs to cover, the result of which is below – guest MC included.

Liam played some cover songs, including “Sunny Afternoon” by The Kinks, and gradually brought up other players to assist on drums, bass, and backup vocals. By the end of the first set, he had managed to mix in a good amount of his own material, with plenty of improvisational jams and covers. In a way, the jams were even better than his more rehearsed originals. Compared to a spastic drum fill with a grungy looped guitar riff, songs like “Cold Feet” just didn’t feel as fun. Songs like “Second Chance,” however, felt like an anthem, because everyone knew the words and were happy to sing along, becoming part of the jam session. This all escalated until the 15 minute break, when Liam Finn wiped his brow and gathered his full band for a grand finale set. They played a new song they had just written the day before, featuring female vocals and the entire band playing their hardest. The floor turned into a basement mosh pit, Liam crowdsurfed, and everyone was lightening.


It looks like this was Liam Finn’s last show for the time being, but his new shows will be listed on Facebook, and you can check out his Tumblr for all kinds of goodies.

Last modified on Monday, 20 February 2012 16:12
Kelly Knapp

I grew up listening to the music my parents listened to. My mom gave me some of her “Golden Oldies” cassette tapes, and I could sit in my room for hours harmonizing with The Ronettes, and staring at Del Shannon, who I thought was a total stud in his tiny black and white photo on the glossy fold-out insert. I listened to Willie Nelson because my Dad admired him so much, and I wanted to understand what was so great about him too. My first concert wasn’t a huge life changer; I saw Inner Circle at a local Jambalaya festival in Central Florida. Their biggest hit was “Bad Boys,” the theme song to COPS. If anything, that concert should have traumatized me. But, at the time I had no comprehension of any crassness. I just remember the guitarist making eye contact with me and smiling, and feeling excitement over having a brief connection with someone who was making me dance.

It’s the same thing with listening to music with words in another language. It’s not necessary to understand words or literal meanings. It’s the way the melodies and rhythms evoke feeling. It’s like that saying about art, how you may not be able to explain it, but you know it when you see it. I can’t always describe music (although obviously, I sure as hell try to), but I know what I like when I feel it, and I think those who can evoke that feeling deserve to be acknowledged for it. That’s what I want to describe. That’s what I want to share.

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