Advertisement

Finneas live at Electric Ballroom review: Billie Eilish’s brother proves he’s a star in his own right

 (Getty Images for Coachella)
(Getty Images for Coachella)

Finneas is easily one of the most influential writers and producers of the past decade. He has won eight Grammy Awards for his work with sister Billie Eilish and elsewhere has collaborated with everyone from Halsey to Justin Bieber.

He’s also an important part of Eilish’s live show and has headlined both Glastonbury and Coachella alongside her. In recent weeks, the siblings have played to tens of thousands of people every night as part of their busy European festival run.

Understandably, his own solo music has taken somewhat of a backseat. After a stint in pop-rock band The Slightlys, Finneas shared his first solo single in 2016 while debut EP Blood Harmony followed in 2019. His first album Optimist was only released in 2021.

Touring has been sporadic and on Wednesday night, he finally got around to playing his first ever UK headline show at London’s Electric Ballroom, a night after Billie Eilish played a surprise gig at the same venue. “Technically I’m on tour with my sister but I had some time to kill, so I figured I’d kill it with you,” he told the crowd at the sold out venue.

Backed by a three-piece band, Finneas’ music veered between heartbreaking acoustic songs flecked with hope, to furious rock songs that almost always managed to look on the bright side. The Elton John-inspired The Kids Are All Dying wrestled with generational angst before the twinkling The 90s offered sugary nostalgia. Dreamy piano ballad Only A Lifetime was dedicated to his family while a theatrical Medieval was the closest he came to his work with his sister, a warped, twisting number that was delivered with a playful snarl.

Despite his usual position in the background, Finneas looked right at home in the spotlight. He started laughing during the pretty Angel as fans screamed back every word, confidently dished out a wailing guitar solo to end the defiant Naked and happily clambered on top of a chair to dance to the electro shimmer of Around My Neck. Through arena-ready pop and warm, intimate folk, Finneas was happy to play the rockstar.

He warned the crowd that this was the first solo show he’d played in three months but clearly relished the challenge. “It’s fun to be as nervous as I am coming out here tonight,” he grinned, before later promising more touring next year. An unreleased track saw him alone at the piano, singing incredibly raw lyrics flecked with venom.

He might be best known as “Billie Eilish’ brother” but at his first UK headline show, Finneas was comfortably a star in his own right.