Denver, CO - Bluebird Theater - March 11, 2016
article by: Sophie Brennan
Crave: How are you guys enjoying Denver? Have you been here before?
Finish Ticket: Oh, yeah, we love it here! I’d move here if I could.
Crave: So, I hear that you guys started out as a band pretty young. Can you tell me a little bit about the difficulties that went along with that?
Finish Ticket: Yeah, there were plenty! We started out 15-16 years old, and there was a really good music scene at the time in San Francisco. So, we would go see shows every weekend, and we didn’t realize how lucky we were until we got to check out music scenes in other places. When we finally got out and started playing, I think we definitely had an idea for what the standards were. So, we wanted to be really good, just like everybody else, but we were 15 years old. We would try so hard, but it was really hard to be taken seriously…Walking into venues where the guys are 10 years older than you, thinking, ‘Oh, they’re just a high school band,’ but that’s not what we wanted to be. I think that we owe a lot to that — the fact that we got to see such great bands so young and set those standards so early, to work hard to prove ourselves as a young band. That was one of the biggest struggles we had, to be written off so often, but we worked really hard, and slowly gained some traction.
And now you have a pretty big following in the Bay Area, is that correct?
Yeah, we were around 50 tickets away from selling out The Fillmore. They added a room upstairs that’s just to look at posters and eat food in, which holds around 150 people. The floor was completely packed though, it looked really cool.
Was there any distinct moment when you were up an coming where you felt like you really picked up speed?
I think for me, it was when we sold out our first show in San Francisco at the Great American Music Hall, and that was insane for us. We found out that the show sold out like 5 minutes before we were about to go on stage, and it just blew our minds… ‘Cause that venue was huge, and we thought it was way too big for us.
How old were you at that time?
That was 2013, so 21 or 22. At that point, we had been doing this for so long, and that was the point where everything really started to come together. We went on our first national tour right after that… We had been going on small short tours, but that was the first big one, and then we signed right after that. Part of it was a result of us selling out shows in our hometown — that helped attract the attention of labels and everyone. In this day and age, they really look for bands who are doing half the work already, which kinda sucks. So, yeah, it was validating in every way for us. All the hard work over the years started coming together.
I think I read something about a cabin in the mountains where you write some of your music. Can you tell me about that?
"It seems a little cliché, but people do that all the time, you know, the ‘Bon Iver thing.’ But, we just really like having a place to go and not really have reception or internet, so no one is bugging us. It’s pretty isolated. It’s in Mammoth Lakes, so it is in a town, but it’s pretty much isolated. It’s at about 9,000 feet, so it’s pretty cool. So we’ve been going up there to just demo a bit — a lot of the songs off the new EP were demoed there first. We've been there maybe four or five times now."
“It’s these guys’, the Stein’s [Gabe Stein, drums, and Nick Stein, keys] Grandma’s cabin, and she can’t go up there anymore, so now she’ll just leave us positive comments on Facebook like, ‘Dear Gabe and Nick, I’m proud of you guys. Love, your rockin’ Grandma.’ So, it’s just a great place to go to get stuff done. And even if we don’t, we still try. It’s all good vibes. We just get away from everything but music.”
Do you have a favorite song in particular to play live?
Bring the Rain has been our favorite since we wrote and started playing it. Wrong is fun, too. Bring the Rain, when we first recorded it, we had never played it live. Before we were signed, we put it out, and eventually, we were like, ‘this is really different than the live version,’ and we kinda didn’t like it, so when we signed and released our record, we re-mastered everything and actually ditched the old recording of Bring the Rain and recorded the version that we liked to play live, and since it’s become our favorite, and a favorite of the fans. It’s become a very crutial song in our live show. We’ve never quite figured out how to take what we do in a live performance and put it in a recording, it’s a really hard thing to do. And we have the mentality that a live show should always be better than a recording. I hate when you see a band that you love and leave a live show disappointed.
If there was any band; broken up, deceased, anything, that you could co-headline tour with, who would it be?
It would be dope to pay a show with Queen. Or Led Zeppelin and The Beatles, the obvious classics. Those are all huge influences on us. Cage the Elephant too, their live shows are amazing. It’s hard to do what they do.
The “Ones To Watch” tour, starring the bands Vinyl Theatre and Finish Ticket, is a show you cannot miss. Both are up and coming, but are well on their way to the big leagues. Finish Ticket opened for Twenty One Pilots this past fall on their Blurryface tour, which provided them with some significant momentum. The five-piece alternative-pop band, including two pairs of brothers, are loving their time on the road exploring the U.S. beyond the San Francisco Bay Area. The energy and love for music that they emit while on stage is undeniably one-of-a-kind. Not only their stage presence is captivating, however; the refreshing lyrical content of their music addresses struggles surrounding much more than your average band’s classic breakup album. If you don’t catch them this time around while accompanied by Vinyl Theatre, another powerhouse of the alt-pop genre, don’t wait long. They may very well take the world by storm faster than you can say ‘Finish Ticket’.