April 17, 2008


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From Idaho with love
Finn Riggins plays the Barley House
By Brian Early bearly@hippopress.com

It’s mostly life on the road for Idaho-based Finn Riggins, an indie rock band that plays at Barley House in Concord this Friday, April 18. It’s their first tour this year, but the trio, thousands of miles away from home, were here only six months ago.

When they played the Barley House back in October, it was before the release of their debut album, A Soldier, A Saint, An Ocean Explorer, which was released a month later. It’s an experimental album full of rhythm of various sorts. In the album, they use a washboard and a steel drum, though the washboard is only used for a song.

“In rock music, you don’t come across that much,” band member Eric Gilbert said about the drum. “Our drummer will play it while he’s playing the rest of the set.”

Earlier in the week, they played a student-only performance at Moultonborough Academy.

“It’s fun to show the kids a different side of the music industry, instead of just what they hear on the radio,” he said. Gilbert’s wife and band mate, Lisa Simpson, grew up in Belmont. Last year when they toured the state, the band played for her high school.

The two met while attending the University of Idaho in Moscow, where they also met Cameron Bouiss, the other member of the trio. Since 2000 they’ve collaborated on numerous projects, starting Finn Riggins a more than a year and half ago. They now call Hailey, Idaho, home.

All three play a variety of instruments, but Bouiss is mostly on drums, Simpson is mostly on guitars and Gilbert is mostly on keys, and all of them sing. They tour often, playing more than 150 shows last year, spending lots of time with newfound friends who supply them with couches, air mattresses and floors to stay on. There’s an occasional stay in a hotel or their van. Gilbert said that for the most part, life on the road is alright, though each band member deals with it differently.

But the constant playing required the band to record their album in a limited amount of time. Last June, while on the road, they stopped for three days and recorded their album in Los Angeles.

“Our label was working with a small budget and we were working with limited time,” Gilbert said. “We played seven nights in a row and we were very warmed up. Everything was first or second take.”

It’s an indie rock band that’s sort of punkish and funkish as well — “Taking a punk mentality but not playing as characteristically as a punk music,” Gilbert said. Often, they’ll work polyrhythms in to their music, two separate rhythms played simultaneously.

The songwriting is all over the place, from the serious to the not serious. “Glove Compartment” is one of their non-serious songs.

“It reminds us that this is fun,” he said. “It’s not always about heaviness. We try to embrace both the dark and the light.”

Finn Riggins
Where: The Barley House, 132 N. Main St., Concord
When: Friday, April 18, 9 p.m.
Listen: myspace.com/finnriggins.