Local band Finish Ticket on touring, making it big

Atlantic Records/Courtesy

Finish Ticket is exactly the kind of local indie-rock band you’d want to root for. Known for their genuine and charismatic live performances as well as thoughtful, distinct lyrics, the five boys from Alameda County just wrapped up a national tour as the opening act for Twenty One Pilots’ BlurryFace Tour.              

“It’s been a dream tour,” said lead singer Brendan Hoye. “It’s the first time we’ve been out in front of thousands every night. Before, it was always hundreds or something, which is still awesome — we love that — but we’ve been waiting a long time for a tour like this. All the hard work paid off.”

Finish Ticket started out when twin brothers Brendan and Michael Hoye were still in high school alongside their friend Alex DiDonato. Gabe and Nick Stein, another set of twin brothers, later joined the band, and the five of them have since gone on to perform at local festivals such as Not So Silent Night and Outside Lands, headline at local venues such as the Fillmore and open for notable musicians such as the Black Keys and Ed Sheeran.              

After graduating from high school, most members of Finish Ticket went off to college but decided after a year to leave school and rededicate their time to the band. After releasing their independent records Shake a Symphony and Tears You Apart, they were picked up by recording label Atlantic Records. Last month, they released their first EP, When Night Becomes Day.

Finish Ticket has spent years opening for big names in one-off shows. Brendan Hoye refers to the band members’ eagerness and energy when performing live as coming from their roots as youthful underdogs. He said that once they began playing at local venues, audiences wouldn’t expect anything from them because they were in high school.

“It was really hard to get taken seriously, until we were onstage,” Brendan Hoye said. “We used to love that. We would go up, and we would change their minds every night. … And honestly, that’s why we enjoy opening so much for headlining shows — because we still enjoy that challenge of going out there. … We love seeing their faces change and seeing the transition from first song to last song when we walk offstage.”  

In addition to stressing the significance of a sincere live performance, Finish Ticket believes it’s important that its music is relatable to the primary audience of people its members’ age and younger.

“We try really hard to not have songs just about typical things you always expect to hear songs about, like romance or stuff like that. There’s a few every once in awhile, but we try to find topics that speak more to people in our age group,” Brendan Hoye said. “Most of our fanbase is at the time, just like we are, where they’re kind of transitioning into adulthood. And it’s a really tough time — you’re unsure about your life. We like to remind you that everyone is going through that, or everyone has gone through that, or you’re going to go through that.”

Brendan Hoye refers to “Bring the Rain” from Tears You Apart, which he wrote during his first year away in college at a time when he was feeling lost and like his old life had been taken away from him: “Bring the rain to my front door / Bring a thundering sky / Tame the fires that burn the walls / Of a life that waves goodbye.”

“I think with that song, there’s a lot of our fanbase that just this year went off to college for the first time, and hopefully with those lyrics, they can find something to relate to.”          

Now that the Blurryface Tour is over, Finish Ticket will be back in the Bay Area for a homecoming concert at the Great American Music Hall on Thursday.

And who is opening for the band?

“The main support on the show is a girl named Frankie, who we love. She’s from Oakland. … She’s now in LA but is still a Bay Area musician to us, at least,” Brendan Hoye said.

Finish Ticket has been around the country and back, and it seems like they’re just getting started. Reflecting on the path they’ve taken to get to where they are today, Brendan Hoye said, “I think all of us can say this is where we wanted to end up. It’s a challenge if (being a musician) is your dream … so we’re just kind of really happy that we took a leap of faith and it started working out.”

Finish Ticket will be performing at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco on Thursday.

Contact Sarah Goldwasser at [email protected].