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Seeing Craig Finn without the backdrop of the Hold Steady was a bit jarring at first. I felt as if I were a witness to someone cheating on his wife. Especially since this "solo" show at the Casbah was in fact with an entirely different cast of characters backing him. The band has been christened Some Guns, and they already have a theme song in the spirit of the Descendents' "Descendents" or Minor Threat's "Minor Threat."

I wasn't really blown away by Finn's solo album, Clear Heart Full Eyes, but I have to admit, in a live setting, many of these songs sprung to life. Perhaps down the road a live album capturing one of these performances will get an official release and do these songs a bit more justice.

Album and show opener "Apollo Bay" became even more spooky and powerful than it was on the CD due to a revved-up performance and some well-placed pedal steel guitar. "No Future" and (especially) "When No One's Watching" slayed. The latter very much showcased the impressive lead guitar of multi-instrumentalist Ricky Ray Jackson, who appears to be playing the role of Tad Kubler for this string of solo shows.

I complimented Jackson after the show and told him that I felt as if Clear Heart Full Eyes was Craig Finn's stab at making a Silver Jews record. Jackson replied that he loved that band, especially the playing of Stephen Malkmus. He then pointed out his white Fender Jazzmaster, which bore a strong resemblance to one used by the famous Pavement guitarist. Coincidence? I think not.

Concert: Craig Finn

Date: February 19

Venue: Casbah

Seats: General

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