The night air is getting chillier here in downtown Spokane. Summer is officially winding down. School started this week, but every hip cat from Lewis & Clark down to Shadle Park High seemed to be at The Empyrean this night. It was obvious they were here mainly in support of a few of their friends, known as Sassmatrons, coming on stage who, despite their youth, showed an immense amount of energy and potential and a very broad range of talent. Despite having a less-than seasoned approach at stage presence, their fellow All-Agers seemed very impressed over all.
And after a beautiful set from the duo Hosannas (absolutely amazing offspring of the once full band known as Church), Finn Riggins took the stage for the main event. It was nearing the later of half of the ten o’clock hour, so the crowd seemed to be a bit more of-aged, and what appeared to be some very ecstatic and devoted fans of Lisa, Eric, and Cameron.
This fabulous trio from Idaho (and damn proud of it!) have made their way through Spokane as often as Charlie Sheen has been through rehab. And they always steal the show. Tonight was no different. Though Empyrean cannot physically offer the acoustics of some stages in town and in surrounding areas, there is a certain personable feeling when you see a band like Finn Riggins pouring their heart out on stage and pushing their euphoric energy to dancing chicks with John Lennon purses, and the aging hipsters skanking their way back to 1993. The Empyrean proved a perfect setting to hear these guys (and girl) as if they were performing at your bedside.
Lisa Simpson has a certain presence that could only come from experience (had the Sassmatrons not had to worry about a curfew, they might have wanted to take note). With Cobain eyes and a Joplin smile, it’s as though the electricity to her guitar was not being fed from the 120 volts sent to her amp, but the 1,000 volts coursing through her heart out to the crowd. All the while Eric Gilbert wailed on the keys as though his board were Barack Obama. He pushes, beats and simply punishes them with the might of the GOP, but in the end the resulting sound and beauty go undeterred. And Cameron Bouiss is a God-damned lumberjack on the drums! This is not only because his stature makes his kit look like it was made for toddlers, but his speed and charisma is so smooth it’s downright breathtaking.
Finn Riggins is a phenomenal musical experience overall. Although they have been deemed as an experimental folk group, it doesn’t seem fair to do so. The band also moves through so many elements of pop, folk, funk, and all up-it-in-that-ass rock and roll. If “experimental” means engulfing several different styles to create something entirely unique (is that the real definition?), then it may be reasonable to label them as such. But, let’s be real. This is rock and roll. And on this early September night at The Empyrean, Finn Riggins most definitely rocked.
Be sure to put on your dancing shoes and look for Finn Riggins as they continue to embark on one last West Coast tour before hitting the studio this fall to record a brand spanking new album. The tour will include a show at The Someday Lounge in Portland on September 10th; As well as two appearances at the legendary Fillmore in San Francisco on October 29th and 30th. And of course, several sweet gigs of equal importance along the coast. Find out where on their website.
Download: “Dali” by Finn Riggans
Download: “Wake (Keep This Town Alive)” by Finn Riggans
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