Live Reviews

Finch – Live


Every so often you’re in the audience for a show that reminds you just why you love music, and just how great an experience a gig can be. The crowds packed into Scala last night for Finch‘s comeback show were treated to just such an experience, with a set that ripped through the venue, emotions careering off every wall, guitar chords whipping through the audience as Nate Barcalow and his screamo crew bought the crowd to their knees.

Having blasted onto the scene in 2002 with their Mark Trombino produced album What It Is To Burn – Finch were a band who combined beautifully written melodies and intelligent lyrics with searing aggressive screamo. Sell out tours and the festival rat run followed before they returned to the studio for their second album. Having parted company with Trombino , they went it alone and took their time to produce the difficult second child ‘Say Hello to Sunshine‘. A new drummer and 3 labels later (Drive Thru, MCA and then Geffen) and things started to fall apart. Rumours of in-fighting, lacklustre performances at GIAN and a general sense of impending doom seemed to hover around them, until February 19th 2006 when it was officially announced they were taking a ‘indefinite break’. It was all over……or so we thought.

Fast forward to October 25th 2007, a blog goes is posted on their My Space by guitarist Randy Strohmeyer “Finch are back! It’s true!” And so we’ve waited, impatiently, for the California five piece to cross the Atlantic and give us our fix, and after a 3 year break they came back to London stronger than ever. With 2 new members (Drew Marcogliese on drums and Daniel Wonacott on bass) the band take to the stage after sets from Envy On The Coast and Armour for Sleep – both of whom play perfunctory decent sets, but it’s a shame for them that juxtaposed next to the jagged, nerve searingly raw talent of Finch, they come off as just rather lukewarm, lightweight emo outfits. Tonight the headliners are the real deal, as they throw themselves into New Beginnings – the wall of sound punches off the stage, hitting your ears and enveloping you in jagged melodies, the bass pounding in your chest as Nate Barcalow tears up and down the stage, pacing, spinning, throwing himself on the floor to scream out lyrics as though they physically hurt him to spit them out.

This evening we’re treated to tracks old and new – with Post Script, Ink, Untitled, Stay With Me and Perfection Through Silence all highlights of a set that we could have watched all night. Three Simple Words whips its way around you, with Barcalow leaning out over the audience to growl “With my hands around your neck..who will stop me now?” as the front rows go into overdrive, and the already insane mosh pit turns up another gear. They even belt out ‘Letters to You’ – a rarity despite it’s popularity. Alex ‘Grizz’ Linares is rocking out on the left of the stage, totally immersed in the sound, whilst Strohmeyer bounding around the stage, a grin plastered on his face.

It’s a welcome return to form from a band who tonight left their support bands trailing in their wake. With a new EP landing on July 15th, hopefully Finch have found the perfect formula with their new line up. What It Is To Burn wraps up the night, leaving the crowds reluctant to leave, desperate for just one more track. With such a fervent fanbase after a 2 year hiatus, it’s clear that Finch are still very much in demand, their sound is still one step ahead of their contemporaries, and they’re still very much a force to be reckoned with.

Dee Massey
Photo by Ashley Gorsis