By Lindsey Potter
Craig Finn’s Clear Heart Full Eyes album has generated some debate over his ability to maintain a similar level of quality as that of his acclaimed band, The Hold Steady. With this in mind, I was unsure if such trepidation over Finn’s choice to venture out on his own would translate into a smaller crowd at his Crocodile performance late last month.
I was surprised to notice that not only was the Crocodile Cafe relatively full, but contained a wide age range of ages within its audience. On my left there was a man who was creeping past middle aged while on the other side I noticed a girl around twenty-one wearing a bandanna with a Craig Finn solo album design centered on her head.
Once Finn began playing, the room unified in its excitement for his performance. I was instantly impressed by his high energy level, as he fiercely gesticulated through his plot-driven lyrics.
He played primarily with a band, though toward the end he did give all but the piano player a break for a couple of songs. I was expecting more acoustic numbers, assuming Finn would would try to separate himself more as a solo artist, but overall it was pretty similar to the style of The Hold Steady, with a full rock band and some strong guitar solos.
Between songs, Finn emphasized his desire to write songs based on situations that are easily relate-able. The songs detailing his broken heart did convey, in his trademark style, a pain that most of us are familiar with. Other tracks attempted to make a more superficial connection to listeners; one song in particular was based on his annoyance with his friends’ construed Facebook personas.
Such trivial topics will probably not encourage droves of new listeners to Finn, although in the grand scheme of things, it appears that it does not matter if he sings about the telephone book, because those who already love him will hold steady in their loyalty.