Photo By Gary Miller
The VeilsRockstars, Friday, March 19
Finn Andrews, frontman for the Veils, is a tortured artist. Seriously. So much so that at one point in the band's set, he looked so distressed as to be in physical pain. And it wasn't really a pleasant thing to endure. His emotionally overwrought voice would start low like a post-Trampoline
Joe Henry, then jump in pitch until it sounded like it was breaking. At the weightier moments, caterwauling was an appropriate description. What happened from the studio to the stage? The UK outfit's Rough Trade debut, The Runaway Found
, intimates these guys have some VU buried in their record collections, with aspirations of being either a revised Gomez or a Beulah UK. The live version was more or less just an endless series of arpeggiated chords. It's important to draw distinctions between the band and Andrews, because at times in the set, they were moving in opposite directions. On songs such as "Guiding Light," the band was getting tighter and trying to push things out a little further toward some edge. Meanwhile, Andrews wallowed. There were bits where it all wanted to come to some sort of Aztec Camera compromise, but then Andrews would go over the top again, and it disintegrated into self-indulgent wailing. It's the kind of double-edged sword that only a few should even attempt to pick up. When you believe in your pain so thoroughly that your mania takes on its own life, then it becomes a thing of real power and beauty (think Jeff Buckley). The slippery slope is that you can quickly become a caricature.