Tag Archives: Craig Finn


The War on Drugs Are in Fine Form at Brooklyn Steel on Sunday Night

April 9th, 2018

The War on Drugs – Brooklyn Steel – April 8, 2018

Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.com

While Adam Granduciel described the show as a sort of one-off warm-up for Coachella, the War on Drugs played their sold-out Sunday show at Brooklyn Steel with a Saturday ferocity and the confidence and skill of a band at the end of a long tour. Granduciel asked if “Everyone’s feeling good?” before launching into an opening set of songs—“Brothers,” “Pain” and “An Ocean in Between the Waves”—that interlaced stoner-poetry lyrics with crackling guitar rock-outs. The recent Grammy winners brought best-rock-album energy to the show, often lit by bright white shafts of light that added an arena-strength visual to the set. For a while it seemed like each tune would top the last, longer jams and more of them.

Midway through, Granduciel promised a “big reveal,” a special guest, after a couple of songs that had the crowd buzzing with who-could-it-be? anticipation. Finally, they brought out Craig Finn, who shared vocals, leading the War on Drugs through a cover of Warren Zevon’s “Accidentally Like a Martyr,” which shifted the tone and gave the band a new space to work out figure-eight excursions. After Finn left the stage, the energy shifted in a more exploratory direction with a powerhouse stretch that stitched “Holding On,” the ambient space-out “The Haunting Idle” and “In Reverse” into a single psychedelic medley, the mood enhanced by beams of pastels swirling around the stage. The encore opened with an not-played-too-often cover of Tom Petty’s “Time to Move On,” a perfect fit for the time, place and band as the War on Drugs head out West, probably not needing it, but indeed, fully warmed up for Coachella and whatever else lies ahead. —A. Stein | @Neddyo


Japandroids Return with Anthemic Music, Play Terminal 5 Tomorrow

February 22nd, 2017

Brian King (vocals and guitar) and David Prowse (drummer) bonded over a shared love of music in college and went on to form the garage-rock duo Japandroids more than a decade ago in Vancouver, B.C. Their debut full-length, Post-Nothing (stream it below), arrived in 2009. The two were still fairly unknown, and, frustrated by not already having made it, they figured they’d put out the album and then break up. But thanks to some glowing reviews—including Pitchfork’s “Best New Music” label—the LP ended up becoming an indie smash, and Japandroids (above, performing “Near to the Heart of Wild” on The Late Show with Steven Colbert) went on tour behind it. Their follow-up, the punk-influenced Celebration Rock (stream it below), came out three years later, again pleasing fans and critics alike. The album “starts strong and stays there over the course of its eight songs and 35 minutes,” according to the A.V. Club. After a long tour in support of it, Japandroids stayed quiet for several years. They began playing live shows again over the course of the latter half of 2016, and last month, their third full-length, the anthemic Near to the Wild Heart of Life (stream it below), came out. “With guitars soaring and grooves accelerating, the worlds feel undeniable,” says Rolling Stone, “and you know that when you hear ’em in a club—or theater, or arena—you’ll be bouncing off the walls, shouting every word.” Come shout along when Japandroids play Terminal 5 tomorrow night. Taking a break from the Hold Steady, Craig Finn & the Uptown Controllers open the show.


The Hold Steady – Brooklyn Bowl – November 30, 2016

December 1st, 2016

The Hold Steady - Brooklyn Bowl - November 30, 2016

Photos courtesy of Pat Tabb | pattabb.com


Craig Finn Kicks Off the Weekend Tonight at The Bowery Ballroom

November 6th, 2015

Singer-songwriter Craig Finn has been the frontman of the swaggering Hold Steady for more than a decade. And while they’re rightfully known for their literate songs and energetic live shows, Finn (above, playing “Maggie I’ve Been Searching for Our Son” live in studio for KEXP FM) has still found time to do some solo work—performing and recording music. His well-received debut full-length, Clear Heart Full Eyes (stream it below), arrived in 2012 to plenty of critical love. “It’s nice to hear Finn working in new sonic territory while still sounding like the same old storyteller obsessed with falls from grace and calls for redemption,” according to the A.V. Club. “Finn has created a new world of characters and songs that’s rich enough on its own, and worth someday revisiting.” After the Hold Steady released a new album and toured behind it, Finn again went solo with this past summer’s Faith in the Future (stream it below). And again the A.V. Club weighed in: “Finn has been a steady presence and celebrated songwriter for more than a decade, and even more clearly than his first solo record, Faith in the Future points to an ongoing, fruitful artistic evolution.” Get your weekend started with Craig Finn at The Bowery Ballroom tonight. Dream-rock singer-songwriter Esmé Patterson opens the show.


Two Nights of Jason Isbell and Craig Finn This Week

May 19th, 2015

For many, Jason Isbell first rose to fame during his six-year tenure as lead guitarist in Drive-By Truckers. And although he initially went solo with the release of the bluesy, punk-tinged Sirens of the Ditch (stream it below) in 2007, Isbell (above, performing “Cover Me Up” for Austin City Limits) really broke through into the mainstream with his fourth solo album, the universally acclaimed Southeastern (stream it below), done without his backing band, the 400 Unit, out in 2013. “Listeners are able to hear an unfiltered representation of this Alabamaian prodigy, and the results are so stellar it’s not hyperbole to say that he could be his generation’s answer to Steve Earle,” gushed A.V. Club. His next album, Something More Than Free, lands in July, but you can hear a single from it now.

Singer-songwriter Craig Finn has been the frontman of the swaggering Hold Steady for more than a decade. And while the band is rightfully known for their literate songs and energetic live shows, Finn (below, doing “Jackson” for KCMP FM) has still found time to do some solo work— performing and recording music. His well-received full-length, Clear Heart Full Eyes (stream it below), arrived in 2012 to plenty of love. The LP “finds the songwriter looking for a change of sonic scenery that feels more like a vacation from his other work than a departure, with the singer maintaining his identity as a songwriter as he adapts to a more distinctly country sound,” according to AllMusic. Don’t miss Jason Isbell and Craig Finn tonight at the Space at Westbury and tomorrow at the Capitol Theatre.


A Fun Bob Dylan Celebration for a Great Cause

November 13th, 2013

Dylan Fest – The Bowery Ballroom – November 12, 2013

I don’t care who you are or what you listen to, everyone has a favorite Bob Dylan song. And if you were at last night’s sold-out Dylan Fest at The Bowery Ballroom—the second of two—there was a good chance you heard yours … and a good chance you didn’t. Close to two-thirds of the way through the show, about the time when Patrick Carney was on drums behind Lukas Haas, it became clear that at the rate the vocalists were rotating across the stage singing one Dylan song after another that it would take about a week to play all of the classic canon.

No matter, what we did get to hear was great. The constant stream of guests made the show fun, while the ready-for-anything Cabin Down Below Band made the show good. We got bluesy rocking Dylan, country Dylan, angry Dylan, sweet Dylan, sing-along Dylan (Mikki James on “Tangled Up in Blue”), sexy Dylan (Karen Elson going dark and slinky on “Cold Irons Bound”) and even some funky Dylan (Meshell Ndegeocello and Doyle Bramhall II fronting a great “Maggie’s Farm”). The pace was fast and furious and a hoot with a bottle of show-sponsor Jameson making the rounds and the production staff doing almost as remarkable of a job as the performers.

Take your choice of highlights, each performer seemed to pick the perfect song to cover: Norah Jones crooning “Just Like a Woman,” Ruby Amanfu and her wowza! vocals backed beautifully by bass, drums and pedal steel on “Not Dark Yet,” Jason Isbell and his wife, Amanda Shires, playing a stunning “Lay Lady Lay” and, my personal favorite, Elvis Perkins singing “Motorpsycho Nightmare,” the full band coming to a head, Perkins not missing a beat while he slyly sang the lyric “lookin’ just like Tony Perkins.” Random pockets of the crowd would ignite as their favorite song would begin, singing along to Dylan both well known and obscure. After Erika Wennerstrom and house bassist Austin Scaggs riled up the crowd with a sing-along “Like a Rolling Stone,” the night fittingly ended with “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” with a certainly fire-code-flaunting crowd of pretty much every musician onstage at once. They might not have made it to every great Dylan song, but, damn, they had a lot of fun trying. —A. Stein

Photos courtesy of Mike Benigno | mikebenigno.wordpress.com

(All ticket proceeds from both shows goes to Sweet Relief. Sweet Relief Musicians Fund provides financial assistance to all types of career musicians who are struggling to make ends meet while facing illness, disability or age-related problems.)

Exclusive Video: Hold Steady’s Craig Finn Plays Unreleased Song

August 20th, 2012

As the frontman for the Hold Steady, Craig Finn is known for evocative lyrics and unhinged live performances. And when the band took a break last year, he used the time “to do something with a little more storytelling and a lot less volume.” The result was his first solo album, Clear Heart Full Eyes, which is filled with what Rolling Stone calls “bleakly funny noir tales.” Here, Finn plays a stripped-down version of the B-side “Meserole” while strolling along McGorlick Park in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn.

Finn also talked about how touring can be a songwriting catalyst, editing his work and no longer waiting for inspiration. Watch the interview.

Subscribe to The Bowery Presents Live on YouTube to stay up to date on more performances and interviews, like these, and all the latest info on our upcoming live-streaming shows with Bon Iver and Two Door Cinema Club.

The Bowery Presents Live Features Virgin Forest

March 8th, 2012

They play in Phosphorescent backing Matthew Houck, but as Virgin Forest the Brooklyn quartet recently released their second LP, Easy Way Out, on Partisan Records. And tonight at Music Hall of Williamsburg they open for Craig Finn. But today, they’re the featured band on The Bowery Presents Live. Watch them, above, talking about things like music from their youth and why they don’t have to practice much. Also check out their Track + Field session, performing “Lifted,” and a playlist of videos, live songs and interviews. And, of course make sure you subscribe to The Bowery Presents Live to keep up with what’s new on the channel.


Craig Finn – Mercury Lounge – February 29, 2012

March 1st, 2012

Photos courtesy of Jennifer Macchiarelli | www.jennylow.com

(Craig Finn plays Music Hall of Williamsburg on 3/8.)


Frightened Rabbit – Terminal 5 – October 30, 2010

November 1st, 2010

Frightened Rabbit - Terminal 5 - October 30, 2010

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com