Over thirty minutes before Thalia Hall’s doors opened there was a long line stretched around the corner of Racine. Teens, supportive parents, and all sorts of music lovers in between were visibly excited as they braved the chilly weather for Laura Sanderson and the evening’s headliner Finneas. Now make no mistake, I expected a big turnout for this show. Beyond his infectious tunes, his part in his sister Billie Eilish’s career as her sole collaborator can’t be ignored. Finneas undoubtedly has gained a bit of his fan base from his work there, but the feverish enthusiasm for his music was undeniable. I was honestly taken a back to how many fans had camped out for the show. However after listening to Sanderson and Finneas’ performances, it became clear that they deserved it.
Laura Sanderson started things off quite well, garnering a pretty big response from the enamored crowd. Tons of her fans had made their way front and center to experience Sanderson’s incredibly fun stage presence. She dashed around the stage as her songs were filling up the venue. Sanderson’s personal song writing are well represented by her stellar voice, making for some excellent pop songs like the recently released “Hotel” .
Light tubes lined the stage, rising up in parts to create doorways and escalating lines that made for a wonderful aesthetic. As the venue lights dimmed and the tubes glowed bright, the crowd exclaimed with a force I’ve rarely heard. Finneas emerged from one of the doorways, his silhouette more than enough to surge the screams further. Once he stepped up to his keys and start playing it became incredibly clear, Finneas is star.
Finneas’ took no time in commanding the crowd. Between switching from the white keyboard to the equally vibrant guitar, he showed off his versatile stage presence that felt utterly refined and confidant. Not a single moment felt misused as he joked with the crowd, lauded their rising eagerness, and shared his songs’ origins.
His songs tend to focus on some darker sides of love and loss, bearing some pretty heavy themes set to some incredibly pop melodies. “Partners in Crime” in particular had a magnificent blend of those elements as the audience echoed the lines “I said you look pretty, all strung out on coke, you said it’s not funny, but it wasn’t a joke.” It wasn’t just “Partners in Crime” that was sung along to; nearly every track was being yelled out at the top of his fans lungs.
The crowd jumped and hollered so much that it made those just standing would bounce involuntarily. That sort of energy is usually reserved for huge arenas but feeling it here was impressive and downright astounding. Finneas has obviously proven his music has what it takes to sell out huge venues, but seeing him at Thalia Hall genuinely felt like a special occasion. I hope to see him at an intimate venue again, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s headlining huge venues solo like he has been with his sister.
Whether it was the journey into adulthood in ” Die Alone” or the melancholy opener “I Lost A Friend”, Finneas was incredibly in tune with his audience. Every song seemed to hit home with the crowd, touching upon subjects in a very personal way while still feeling relatable and genuine. Finneas knows his audience well, even thanking the large contingent of parents in the crowd for supporting their kids and bringing them out.
As the night came to a close, neither the crowd nor Finneas lost a step. He sent the already elated crowd away with ” Let’s Fall in Love for the Night”, an excellent finish that only further proved Finneas’ musical prowess and his way with his audience.