FINNEAS Brings “Blood Harmony” To Two Sold Out Nights At Hollywood Forever Check Out Our Thoughts & Photos From His 2nd Sold Out Masonic Lodge Show
LOS ANGELES, CA- Back in 2014, at the Santa Monica Pier, I saw a band open up for Omar Souleyman and De Lux. They were the winners of a local “battle of the bands” contest, and they were called The Slightlys. In reviewing my blog post for that performance, I noted that their music reminded me a little bit of a mix of Fall Out Boy and Jellyfish. I was impressed. It wasn’t until I was contacted by the New York Times for permission to use a little video clip that I posted up on Youtube did I discover that the frontman … or kid … of that band was none other than Finneas O’Connell. Billie Eilish‘s older brother.
Now, Billie has had quite a year, selling out huge theaters and having her first studio album debut at number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, but people would be remiss to think that she got there all on her own. In fact, Finneas not only produced the entire album (in his home studio, no less) but also wrote or co-wrote all of the compositions on the album. The dark, pop-infused gems on When We All Fall Alseep, Where Do We Go? are, without hyperbole, some of the most incredible pop songs of the year, and you’d be easily convinced of that fact when you hear thousands of fans singing (and yelling) every word with Billie in a concert setting.
Last month, Finneas proved to the world that his work on Billie’s album was no one-off fluke. On October 4th, 2019, he released his debut EP Blood Harmony, a collection of songs that he has been writing over the past couple of years.
While the tone of his EP is much lighter than that of his sister’s album and far more polished than the output of his last band The Slightlys, it’s proof positive that he is a musician with his own voice and a “golden touch” when it comes to writing pop-friendly hooks and producing the same. “Die Alone” … oi … that’s a gorgeous ballad. And “Shelter”? That’s a track that Avici would have been proud of. Billie should keep an eye on her brother because I can’t imagine that he isn’t getting approached be upstart acts hoping to get some studio time with him.
In support of his solo work, Finneas had two sold-out nights at the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever, and Blurred Culture was able to attend the second of two nights.
Opening for Finneas was the exciting young artist Lauren Sanderson.
It had only been a year since I saw her grace L.A. Pride’s main stage in 2018 for an early afternoon set. I’ve been sleeping on Lauren because I knew that she was a terrific performer, but I hadn’t gone out of my way to catch her perform live since that first time. My bad. This one is worth seeing live whenever you get the chance.
With this performance, she dropped a handful of new tracks that she has been working on and that she said would be ready for release soon. Her music has always tip-toed between melodic hip-hop and R&B, but I got the vibe that she’s leaning more soulful for her next collection tracks … and I dig it.
What really impressed me was the fact that there were a handful of young ladies standing next to me during the performance who seemed to know almost every lyric that Lauren was singing. Lauren was feeding off that energy throughout her performance (as was confirmed by an Instagram that I saw where she calls on fan her “safe place”), and she gave the room that energy right back to the room ten-fold. Fantastic opening set by and terrifically undeniable talent. Did Epic Records part ways with her? If so, I have a feeling they’ll regret that in a bit.
When the house lights dimmed prior to FINNEAS taking the stage, the room erupted with the squeal of hundreds of young fans. FINNEAS may be spoken for, but that won’t stop his legion of young female fans from excitedly yelling his name.
For the past year, FINNEAS has been backing up his sister on tour. You would have thought that he’d have a few players backing him up for his solo show, but nope. There he was on stage, alone, backing himself up, playing his own instruments and programming his own tracks.
Clearly, FINNEAS is no stranger to being in the center of the spotlight as he worked the stage and the crowd with well thought out stage direction and purposeful actions throughout the performance. Whether seated at his keyboard, standing at the mic stand with his guitar, or cooly dancing around the stage to the pulsing illumination of the self-made stage production (which his explained was made by his father), it was a performance that was as polished as polished could be. His setlist obvoiusly focused on selection from his EP, but he also played songs that weren’t on that album like the appropriately selected “Hollywood Forever” and a new song that he performed as his finale.
This second of two performances in his hometown was particularly special for FINNEAS. Earlier in the day, he had actually picked up the keys to his new house. Throughout the evening, as he introduced different songs, he reflected on where he was in his life at that moment; selling out two nights at a venue that he’s long admired had long sharing, being in love and having people sing along with him his own songs. In an unsaid way, this was almost like a turning point for him. A new chapter of his own life.
And whether that’s with his sister or on his own, it’s seems like his future is undeniably bright. The are plenty of blank pages left in his song book, and I can’t wait to hear what he writes next.