At the end of last year, when I was recapping the released albums of 2013, my attention was captured also by The Veils’ “Time Stays, We Go”. I found the album beautiful with pessimistic lyrics and a touch of dark-folk, preaching an ironic sense of drama and desolate melancholy sang with drained vocals. It was released in April at Finn Andrew’s own label, Pitch Beast Records.
The Veils come from London and Finn Andrew is the lead singer and the son of Barry Andrew of XTC. The reviews and interviews portraits Finn Andrews as a charismatic singer with a cathartic live performance and all this together with the dark sound of the album made me somehow think of David Eugene Edwards’ work, which I appreciate very much. A The Veils concert was immediately put on my list.
To my surprise, the impression I go was quite different. He has charisma but not the kind I had created in my mind. Finn Andrew is not the tortured soul I imagined, he’s actually a very agreeable presence on stage, a positive energy, talking nicely to the public between the songs, very sincere in his speech and proving good sense of humor: a switched between a sad to a even sadder song was done with wittiness: “We’re going to play a really, really sad song now. For a fucking change.” There is a big difference between his disarming shyness and the strong assurance coming from his voice.
He announced from the beginning that the show would be a journey through all the albums, so the setlist was a good mix of materials from all albums with new songs as well.
Exactly when I was thinking that the sound of the concert was very good in Orangerie that evening and appreciating the fascinating and hypnotic vocals of Finn Andrew, he announced that he had to cancel the previous night show in London due to the collapse of his voice. This could have been the reason for which the show was not sold out in Brussels, people might have thought the performance will lack some brightness because of that but, believe it or not, it was a good recovering, he did not spare his vocal chords this time.
He had a dedicated public, who was familiar with the songs and music, happy to receive and give back attention. The encore was requested vividly. Finn came back for two acoustic songs followed by an energetic ending with Jesus for Jugular.
The band is formed around his persona, and even if the show has unity I personally believe that it’s more a singer’s performance than a band performance: everything is great but the other musician are obviously just accompanying Finn Andrew in his master musical arrangement: drums, bass, two guitars, keyboards and two violins. But it was not bad at all and I finally realize why: it’s the lyrics. The beauty of his music does not consists in the power of musicians on stage or the charisma and suffering he puts out there, but in the poetry that comes up with every phrase, in a very personal approach and very difficult to be felt with reason. The lyrics are beautifully crafted, jewelries in themselves. The lyrics are the veil he throws upon and in his music.