Thirty minutes outside of Chicago, Finish Ticket’s tour van broke down, forcing the members to travel separately to the city. 

“We were so nervous we weren’t going to make it here, because [Lollapalooza] is huge,” says lead vocalist Brendan Hoye, sitting next to a large Jenga set in the press lounge at Lollapalooza on Thursday, Aug. 3. 

The band is fresh off its afternoon set on the Bacardí stage and members were beaming with relief. They didn’t want to miss the festival because well, it is Lollapalooza, but also because the band is returning after an unintentional hiatus since 2017. 

After its debut album in 2014, Tears You Apart, and some EPs and singles throughout the years after—including their most popular song on streaming Color—Finish Ticket had the goal of taking a break to write and record a second record. But then the pandemic hit. 

“We were also in the process of leaving the label we were with, and despite the pandemic hitting, it was more time than expected for us to create what we wanted and find a new label,” Hoye says. 

In 2015, the band’s EP When Night Becomes Day, was on repeat for me. Their song Color was always the first song I’d turn on any time I got ready or took a drive around my neighborhood in my mom’s car. It was that song I always went back to, for years. 

As an adult, I’ve gone back to the song often and stumbled upon Finish Ticket’s latest single Changing earlier this year—before I knew it was playing Lollapalooza. With this being the first time I saw the band live, I can say it was worth the wait. 

Much of the earlier music from the band has a softer approach, and I was pleasantly shocked to hear how hard the band goes during their live sets. Hoye says it’s something he wishes their older music would be translated through the recordings. But, as the second album is complete and set for release in the next year, he adds that’s exactly what the band tried to do on their new songs. 

“It’s a mixture of older songs we wrote a few years ago with a new sound,” Hoye says. 

Guitarist Alex DiDonato can hardly contain his excitement when talking about the new record, unable to reveal specific dates as of now. He, and the rest of the band, are eager to get the record out—wishing they could do so as one big release, rather than releasing singles leading up to it. 

Because the band hasn’t had new music in a few years, members look forward to reintroducing themselves in a new way. And this album, according to Hoye, is their most emotion-driven music yet. 

“In the past we’d write about random things, but on this upcoming record we get more personal and show more emotion than ever before—we touch on love, depression, and everything [in between],” Hoye says. 

And while releasing new music is always nerve-wracking for artists, DiDonato notes how intriguing it is to hear fans’ different reactions to their songs. Drummer Gabe Stein says the beauty of it all is that any individual person who listens to their music will have a different reaction to it.

“Hearing people’s opinions reassures me that this is the only thing I’m meant to do in life,” Hoye says. 

For me, Finish Ticket has been nostalgic music, reminding me of who I was as a teenager. Now, the band and I are in similar stages of our lives—and I’m able to pull something fresh from their sound. 

A Finish Ticket live show reminds you to let loose. The joy that spews from the band as members bop around stage is contagious, and it’s a catchy alt rock that leaves listeners in a feel-good mood. 

The band says the best song of theirs to start off with is Dream Song, although members recommend their new music when that comes out. Dream Song feels the most Finish Ticket to the band. It displays their variety of space and heavy sound—transitioning tempos and energy with ease. 

Keep an eye out for the band’s new music announcements and future shows here. And though band members didn’t get to finish their game of Jenga before heading out, Hoye would have been able to sweep the game if it was basketball. 

Kendall Polidori is The RockhoundLuckbox‘s resident rock music critic. Follow her reviews on Instagram and Twitter. @rockhoundlb