The Faint at First Avenue, 07/21/10
July 21, 2010
With everything that the Faint brought with them on stage Wednesday night at First Avenue, it's possible that the crowd would've been entertained even if the band never played a note. There were seven aliens/mannequins strategically placed throughout their set up, holding up keyboards and giving encouragement from atop the speaker stacks, and when you combine that with the intensive light show, you have a fascinating spectacle even without the music. But, rest assured, the music was there, as the Faint tore through one of their "favorite venues in the world," delivering a lively, energetic 70-minute set that only got better as the night went on.
The band didn't waste any time easing into the performance, storming out of the gates with "Mirror Error" and "Dropkick The Punks," that got the crowd animated, before "Agenda Suicide" really set the place off, and the band never really slowed down the rest of the night. The five-piece from Omaha has really honed their sound since the last time I saw them, bringing an added edge and intensity to their already moody music that really translated well live. Judging from the reactions of those around me, it seemed that everyone got to hear their favorite song during the performance, as the set drew pretty evenly from all of the band's albums. Lead singer Todd Fink joked while there was a delay between songs that "we're looking for more light-bulbs. I know you're here for the music, but we like the lights too." And what a light show is was, only adding to the frantic atmosphere that the band was crafting on stage.
It was a treat to hear the classic, "In Concert," which Fink introduced by saying "Now we're going to take you way back," before the band delivered a rousing version of the Blank-Wave Arcade track. And, thankfully, that would not be the only song we would hear from the band's stellar second album, as they also tore through "Worked Up So Sexual" near the close of the main set. "Take Me To The Hospital" is always a fun song to hear live, and really got the crowd, who were clearly in the mood to dance, whipped up into a frenzy. Nearly two-thirds of the way through the show, Fink proclaimed "If you're warmed up, so are we. This is a good show tonight, we're really feeling this" before the band launched into the nasty funk of "Desperate Guys," which flowed seamlessly into "Get Seduced," treating the crowd to the lead-off tracks from both Wet From Birth and Fasciination.
Fink dedicated a storming version of "Worked Up So Sexual" to "my old boss at the record store. Mark, this one's for you." And from that point on, the show, which had been on the verge of boiling over all night, really became incendiary. Main set closer "Paranoiattack" got everyone in the place dancing along to the band's driving rhythms, and thankfully they didn't waste too much time before retaking the stage for the encore, building on that energy with "The Geeks Were Right." Fink proclaimed "If you've been dancing all night, this one's for you" before the band truly set the place off with a blistering version of "Glass Danse" that was so good Fink thought the show should stop right there. But the show closed with a fierce rendition of "I Disappear" that ended the night in spectacular fashion. It had been a while since I had the pleasure of seeing the Faint, and they've managed to add a welcome potency and venom to their sound that, while being edgy, still allows you to get down to the music while it engulfs and consumes you. Based on all of the sweaty and satisfied fans leaving First Avenue, it seemed that was exactly what we were all looking for last night.
Critic's Bias: Definitely a fan from way back, but I certainly reconnected with the band in a major way last night.
The Crowd: A smiling, sweaty mass that clearly wanted to dance.
Overheard In The Crowd: "Are those aliens part of the band?"
Random Notebook Dump: I'm pretty sure the aliens were part of the band.
For more photos: See our complete slideshow by Tony Nelson.
Dropkick The Punks
Southern Belles In London Sing
Take Me To The Hospital
Machine In The Ghost
Forever Growing Centipedes
Worked Up So Sexual
The Geeks Were Right
Photo by Erik Thompson
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