Last night I headed to The Evelyn Hotel to see Liam Finn play. After touring extensively throughout the US for the first half of the year, he scheduled four dates in Australia and New Zealand as part of his "Better to Be Home Soon" tour. My first surprise of the night was the length of the line that greeted me when I arrived at the venue. Liam is obviously getting more popular as none of his previous shows had been this packed out. Opening band The Gin Club were entertaining as all the band members switched instruments and took turns on vocals depending on what song they were playing. They sounded great (sort of folk-rock) and are a talented bunch of musicians.
Liam and his lovely sidekick EJ Barnes opened with a crazy noise jam that was actually done to test out their equipment as they had been having technical issues at sound check. Unfortunately, EJ's loop pedal wasn't working so she couldn't do any vocal loops (although she did get it to cooperate once). Liam also had problems keeping his guitar in tune after he knocked it against a beam in the ceiling. Despite the technical difficulties it was a fun hour long set with lots of banter back and forth between EJ and Liam. Jokes about Liam's height led EJ to refer to him as Prince, and they created a jam about EJ's cowboy boots because Liam wanted to wear them. Liam nearly broke his drum kit when he used one of her boots to play. We got a new song that featured EJ on autoharp and Liam using percussion mallets to play the drums, and they closed the night with "Wide Awake on the Voyage Home." On my way to the tram stop I had my second surprise of the night when I passed Quang and Taka of Little Red sitting outside at a restaurant on Brunswick Street. Melbourne can be a small town at times.