Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun

{This is a guest post from our dear friend and honorary imaginary Killorn O'Neill.}

Here's a phone-video of Liam Finn and Eddie Vedder playing Pearl Jam’s “Habit.”  Please forgive the quality; the minor aneurysm I seem to suffer halfway through was merely 15-year-old me almost passing out with joy.

Touring in support of his sophomore release FOMO {June 2011}, Liam performed at the Tractor Tavern on Friday in front of a surprisingly small but incredibly enthusiastic audience. Backed by a full band (which included brother Elroy Finn), Liam was a delight to watch, especially on the drums. Compact and bright-eyed, Finn bounced between guitar, drums and even a theremin throughout, at one point jokingly calling for the crowd to "clap along on this one like we’re European." The set consisted heavily of songs from Finn’s 2008 debut I’ll Be Lightning, leading off with the title track before launching into favorites “Second Chance” and “Energy Spent.” Notables from his new album FOMO included the sweetly jangling “Roll of the Eye” and the fuzzy, white-noisy “Jump Your Bones.” To top off the already excellent full set, Liam surprised the crowd by inviting Eddie Vedder up from the side of the stage to join him for the last two songs, Pearl Jam’s “Habit” and Split Enz’ “I See Red” respectively. You could almost hear Twitter crashing.

On record, Liam Finn creates tidy, wistful dream-pop songs you would be proud take home to your mother. With the aid of a full band, however, the New Zealander evolves each track into multilayered mini-sagas of psychedelic chaos that make you want to show it on the doll where the pop song touched you. With shades of Brendan Benson, the Beatles, Elliot Smith and some good ol’ breezy yacht-rock thrown in for good measure, he remains one of the most diverse and underrated pop songwriters touring today. Come back to Seattle soon, Liam, and feel free to bring Eddie along again when you do.

Opening for Finn was the haunting Brooklyn-based violinist and former busker Marques Toliver, whose unexpected blend of classical violin training and gospel was absolutely riveting — with bonus charm points awarded for the adorable hand-lettering on his CD Butterflies Are Not Free.