Concert Review:  Finn Andrews, Hollywood Cinema, 27 November 2020

In the elegant old-timey atmosphere of the Hollywood Cinema theatre, Finn Andrews and his band deliver an impassioned set of Indie Folk songs with the spotlight on Andrews soulful and intense voice.

Beautiful music which cast a spell from the opening track Time to encore Song to the Siren. A sold-out show and a captivated audience who kept quiet throughout, keeping the noise strictly between songs. Much goodwill from both sides as Finn was genuinely grateful to be out in front of fans and expressed this. The Year of the Plague and the death lock of Heavy Power.

Much of the music of Folk, Roots Country, Americana, Blues and Jazz is melancholy and addresses difficult issues. Dark clouds of the soul and the oppression of human spirit. But in doing so, it is to lift the veil and the burden. So ultimately it is music of transcendence and profound freedom. The act of conjuring then emanates out and changes the World. Or makes you see what the reality is and not the bullshit.

Time/ Time is a devil/ Time is a river. Melancholy and minimal. A slow march and a great voice. What is time? Time is that which ends so time is Death. Proves to warn that he not busy being born is busy dying.

His work with the The Veils but more so his recent solo work has inspiration from Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Nick Cave and the songs of Morrissey and Marr.

The evening’s entertainment starts with Mali Mali. This is Ben Tolich and he has been performing his bespoke quiet Chamber Pop for almost ten years, although, this is the first time I have encountered him. On stage with a couple of keyboards. I assume his live sound is the same as the recorded one.

The oldest still-operating stage in New Zealand looks like an Old Masters picture frame presenting the lone artist. Can anyone ever be just curious? A naked voice singer, unadorned. Folk with a strong local accent. Nicely controlled and melodic and he sounds trained. A little like Jeff Buckley with that edge of passion.

The songwriting is introspective and observational, with literary use of images. The Smiths in their quieter moments.

I Was Told to Keep an Eye Out has a rhythm loop and a nice clipped beat. Two Truths and a Lie starts with melodic keyboard flourishes before reflections on a good game to play to get to know someone.

Your Glowing Skin is a Folk tune and says You were so much nicer when your heart was broken. Nice tune but there is some sharpness there and so, a surgical strike to the soul.

There are five albums, singles and EPs. Worth getting acquainted with.

The second song from Finn. Stairs to the Roof. Nice violin to open. This is Dave Khan who appears to be ubiquitous as an accompanier. The young woman who gives great electric bass and vocal support and the drummer I cannot identify by name. Apologies.

The Spirit in the Flame and Birds are highlights of the Engine Room. The drummer almost leads and doesn’t sound too far from Hal Blaine at times.

Amsterdam is a song written from inside the Lockdown. This sounds closer to the Café Folk of Greenwich Village of the Sixties. Violin plays Gypsy Jazz quietly. Finn described this as a dream reverie and it is generally melancholy.

Alternates between keyboards and acoustic guitar throughout the set and this one is strummed.

Hollywood Forever might be a homage to the people here. But it actually refers to a cemetery. And like the Smiths Cemetery Gates, it is a great sad song with an uplifting melody.

One Piece at a Time. A highlight I hesitate to say as the whole set is of this standard. But Finn calls it Agnostic Gospel and it really is touched with some spiritual energy and light. Love without hesitation/ This old world will forgive you/ You want it to come wash over you. A blessing.

Finn is a fine White Soul singer similar to Jeff Buckley. On Swimming with Crocodiles, he shows how much expression and depth he can conjure to cast spells.

On Axolotl he can ramp up the passion, volume and intensity. Massive cannon blasts from the drums. Thunder, drama and mania in the Cave style.

Not Yet has a different tone and raises a cheer of recognition. Western Roots Americana with a clipped rhythm. The drummer revs up the beat and they swing and dance like Dylan at the time of Desire.

Don’t Close Your Eyes has the cadences of All Along the Watchtower to begin. The original acoustic one. Another song about Time.

A warm and magic night full of passion. Starts the encore with a rambling loose take on a very new one. Rings of Saturn. Some stand-up banter. Comic Bo Diddley loose rap until we eventually get to a love song.

Warm and loose. Great heights were reached.

Rev Orange Peel    

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Finn Andrews

Mali Mali