ACL Live Review: Finneas
And following in the footsteps of his sister Billie Eilish ...
By Isa Jones,
9:00AM, Sun. Oct. 6, 2019
The plentiful and ardent youth of ACL Fest braved the midday sun on Saturday – only a degree or two hotter than Friday, but without a hint of breeze, so far more still and oppressive – at the Miller Lite stage to lose their voices and minds under the vocal spell and swinging hips of Finneas.
Billie Eilish’s producer, bass player/keyboardist, and older brother, Finneas O’Connell, 22, released his debut EP just 24 hours prior, but one would have thought it had looped in rotation on radio for years considering the throngs of teenage girls screaming and singing along to every word.
On just a piano and guitar, and in his first real solo performance, the multi-instrumentalist proved he’s a force to be reckoned with, hitting all the pop star notes and moves along the way. Clad in a sharp, tailored suit, he rippled the keys like a maestro, danced like Jagger, and knew how to run his fingers through his blond mane in just a way that would elicit screams and adorations from the crowd.
He blew through the EP in a 40-minute set, beginning with the sleeper hit “I Lost A Friend,” and then started looping beats and guitar strums á la Ed Sheeran for the equally Sheeran-esque “Shelter.” He employed backing tracks in place of a live band, but never once let the recordings overshadow his organic talent. Whether he hit the high notes or strutted the stage, he brimmed with frontman confidence.
New tunes followed and it felt like the whole crowd had spent the past day listening to them on repeat. By the time he closed with the hit “Let’s Fall In Love for the Night,” he proved that he just might travel a similar trajectory as his younger sister. If so, ACL Fest just got a peek at America’s next major pop star.