Two years ago, before all the collective trauma we have endured, Finneas performed his first solo set as an artist at the Austin City Limits Music Festival.
The singer and producer, who you probably know as the brother of pop star Billie Eilish (one of the headliners of the Saturday festival), sang in front of a small crowd of mostly teenagers under the beating sun in 2019. He had one very early on. of the smallest steps.
In 2021, being Finneas means something different.
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“I’m trying to touch his feet,” said a participant near me.
Another person nearby pooped a couple who spread a blanket between all the standing bodies, saying they would end up getting stomped on as fans rushed onto the stage. At least a few hundred people were lined up before Finneas stepped onto the Vrbo stage, and they ran towards the stage when he came out.
In his hour-long set, Finneas performed 15 songs, including three from his new album “Optimist”, due out on October 15th. Dressed in a beige, tie-dye suit and white tank top, he commanded the scene, confident as any Get Out. At one point, he was standing completely still with one hand in his pocket and another on the microphone.
He smiles at the crowd.
“Doesn’t it seem so surreal to you to be here?” a person behind me at the show asked a friend. They explained that the last thing they did before the pandemic shut down the world was to attend a concert.
“It’s been a weird year, hasn’t it? Finneas asked the audience, as if reading their minds.
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Live music can often bring out the emotional romance in each of us. But this time, this show was the first – at least for me, and I’m sure some in the crowd – in almost two years. The pandemic continues, but the music is back.
The relief from the collective stress of screaming, being in a crowd and hearing music pounding in your ears was invigorating. So I am giving Finneas an A + for both his performance and the fact that we are here, vaccinated, after all this time.
He performed through his hits that his longtime fans are probably familiar with: “Angel”, “Let’s Fall in Love for the Night” and “I Lost a Friend”.
He jumped up and down the stage and was confident in his quality. He is it’s good. His solo music differs from the work he did with his sister. It’s more folk, romantic and rock. He flew between playing the piano and the guitar while he sang. He did it all.
Between songs towards the end of her set, “Bans off our bodys” flashed on the giant screen next to the stage, referencing the Texas abortion ban that went into effect in September. Under the new law, pregnant people cannot have an abortion after six weeks, even before many people know they are pregnant.
Finneas then announced that he would donate his entire ACL Fest salary to Planned Parenthood Texas.
“I’m happy to be here in Texas, because I’m happy to be here with all of you,” he said.
He then cursed Governor Greg Abbott and the crowd cheered.
Finneas ended his show with “Let’s Fall in Love for the Night”, and it was euphoric. The sun finally started to set and her voice was so soft.
When I arrived a little before he left, a person around me asked his friend, “Who is this?”
The friend replied, “Billie Eilish’s brother.”
By the time his set was over, he might have changed his mind about this one. It was clear that Finneas is a name that stands out.