Life throws you curve balls from time to time – especially when you are a photographer. Finch‘s latest headlining tour was moved from the Electric Factory to Underground Arts in Philadelphia. Underground Arts has a very CBGB vibe to it. It’s a smaller venue, reminiscent of those older concert venues where bands would go and play their hearts out to their local fans. There is only a maximum capacity of about 100-150 people. The sound was a bit off as you went to the front of the stage because the venue is on the lower floor. The sound tended to permeate towards the back.
Opening up the night was a band hailing all the way from Dublin, Ireland named Wounds. They started out their show extremely slow and with low, brooding lights. I was lulled in the false sense of security that this was going to be that type of set, when out of nowhere – BAM. Lead singer James Coogan let out a banshee-like scream and proceeded on with an aggressive and hard rock set. Wounds has a very Maylene and the Sons of Disaster type aura to them. Underground Arts seemed like the perfect venue for Wounds, due to their intense connection with the crowd. There was even a point where Coogan brought his mic stand out into the fans.
The next band, Maps & Atlases, a math rock band from Chicago, are very musically inclined. “We love you guys” was spoken at the band a few times during their breaks, which drew a slight smile from guitarist and vocalist Dave Davison. Their songs are very intricate and have many musical layers to them. There was a style that fit every musical palate on this tour.
The headlining act, Finch, took the stage almost as a second chapter for the band. Some would argue that this resurgence happened on the What It Is To Burn tour, but I felt that way with Back To Oblivion as a whole. In my review of the album, I stated that the title track signaled a moving on into the next phase of the band. This is the song that they opened up with and it rather seemed like a statement of “We made it back!” Finch’s set list went from newer material to old favorites like “Letters to You” and “Grey Matter”. This is where the crowd got livelier trying to push their way to the front. Guitarist Randy “R2K” Strohmeyer was the most animated of the band, often getting close and singing lyrics with them. I love that type of interaction between bands and fans. It truly makes the crowd feel a part of the show.
Sound issues aside, every band played their hearts out. Sometimes situations are not going to be ideal, but you have to push on anyway. Similarly you can acclimate this to the new chapter of Finch as a band and entity.