Liam Finn, Dan Kelly, Rainbow Chan
Newtown Social Club
29 November 2015
Leaving the house more often is totally worth it if it means a night like this, and discovering Sydney musicians like Rainbow Chan. Dancing behind her dreamy pop harmonies, she led the Sunday punters of Newtown Social Club away from the dwindling weekend with her energetic electronic pop/dance tracks.
Dan Kelly is a captivating storyteller both within his lyrics and onstage banter. Regaling his audience with the real-life anecdotes behind each track revealed his version of the weird and wonderful characters of northern New South Wales.
Performing solo, Kelly improvised full-band tracks by enlisting the audience. As he narrated where band members should have come in, a charmed audience sang when required, and out of nowhere Liam Finn jumped onstage for the drum cue of ‘Never Stop The Rot’. Closing with a Jimi Hendrix-style ‘Advance Australia Fair’, before diving into ‘Bindi Irwin Apocalypse Jam’, the self-proclaimed “23rd best guitarist in Australia” knows his audience well.
From the first notes of ‘Fire In Your Belly’, Liam Finn had the audience transfixed for the entire set. Opening with just an electric guitar, his signature sound grew as more musicians were invited to the stage. They could have gone on to play his entire discography and no-one would have complained.
There is a unique intensity in Finn’s live performance that completely captivates an audience. His wild eyes grew focused in the emotional performance of ‘Snug As Fuck’, while a moment of inspiration called for a rearrangement of ‘Second Chance’.
You could clearly see Finn’s energy levels heighten as proceedings exploded into a dramatic theremin solo during ‘Miracle Glance’, or a powerful drum break whenever he could step away from his guitar. The Nihilist’s ‘4 Track Stomper’ in particular, was both a set highlight and a gateway to a beautiful chaos for Finn. It is as if his only frustration is that he cannot play all the instruments at the same time.
The contributions from guest Eliza-Jane Barnes balanced Finn’s energy with smooth harmonies and an eclectic range of percussion instruments. The setlist weaved its way from the delicate EP release ‘On Your Side’ to The Nihilist’s intense ‘Burn Up The Road’.
As he stood on his drum stool, with arms stretched wide, Finn’s cowboy-hat-patterned shirt was switched with a black glittery show jacket in preparation for the final song. Crashing down into a cover of Devo’s ‘Gut Feeling’ with Kelly on guitar, a stage full of Australasian music royalty lineage jammed until the final chord and Finn fell into the drum kit for a dramatic finale.
Originally published thebrag.com.au