concert reviews

the Finn Brothers at the 9:30 Club, Washington, DC, Wednesday 28 July 2004

At the 9:30 club on Wednesday, the Finn Brothers -- Neil (the younger sibling and mainstay of the band Crowded House) and Tim (frontman of Split Enz) -- delivered bouncy pop tunes to a very, ahem, crowded house. Many in the audience weren't afraid to admit that they had been following the brothers since the 1970s, identifying the venues the brothers used to play and cheering in recognition of their older hits, such as Crowded House's "Weather With You."

But this show was far from a nostalgia trip: The Finns' new songs, which made up nearly half the set, were as well received as the old standbys.

As with another set of musical brothers -- the Everlys -- the Finns' harmonies were the central focus of their songs: Their voices gained confidence and warmth together, where each alone seemed bare. They alternated lead vocals, sometimes within the same song, with one brother singing the verses and the other taking over the choruses. The Finns stretched each song like taffy, topping many tunes off with an instrumental interlude that often found the two brothers at center stage attacking their guitars as if playing only for each other.

Most of all, the two just had fun, for example in Split Enz's speedy "I See Red" when Tim leapt from behind the piano to dance about the stage, or he took on a whistle solo in the middle of "Six Months in a Leaky Boat." At the conclusion of "All of the Colors," a song penned for their late mother, Tim mumbled, "Sorry, Mom, I blew the ending," but it was clear from the audience's enthusiastic reaction that no apology was necessary.

-- Catherine P. Lewis

.: Originally published: The Washington Post, 30 July 2004