The Faint at the Fine Line, 5/24/14
Fine Line Music Cafe, Minneapolis
Saturday, May 24, 2014
Just before the Faint took the stage, a large drunk man pushed his way towards the front row, turned around, and grinned. "Everyone forgot about the Faint three years ago," he slurred. "I heard Reptar four years ago in New Hampshire and they've kept their energy up this whole time. The people here, they don't know how to dance, but they can't help but dance when these guys are playing."
He was right. Reptar, the Athens, Georgia-based band who played just before the Faint, left everyone in the crowd with shit-eating smiles as they swayed to the beats of the dual drummers, synth player, and bassist. Reptar sounds exactly like what you'd expect of the grown up Nickelodeon generation on a few tabs of acid.
But the drunk man was wrong about one thing -- not everyone forgot about the Faint. The Fine Line was packed with an array of hipsters, punks, hippies, bike messengers, and anyone else who cried tears into their turtlenecks while blasting Danse Macabre in their preteen years. Though the band just released Doom Abuse, their first album in six years, it was clear the audience had primarily gathered for the sake of nostalgia. They wanted the old school hits and the Faint delivered.
The set kicked off with an eerie Jurassic Park-like soundtrack and a few blasts from a smoke machine. The band sauntered unglamorously from the side door to the stage, with Todd Fink looking alarmingly similar to a scarecrow, and churned out "Animal Needs" off Doom Abuse.
Unfortunately, the crowd seemingly forgot how to dance at some point during the break between Reptar and the Faint, and an obnoxious electro mosh pit had formed with an excessive helping of elbows. By the time the Faint started playing "Desperate Guys," the folks at the front of the stage were being pinned against the wooden barrier. Those brave enough to ask the drunk culprits behind them to stop elbowing their backs were met with, "Suck it up, you're in the front row at a concert. What do you expect?" Dancing and not shitty moshing, perhaps?
Though the stage was small, the Faint worked it to their best ability, with the help of a light show that made their set feel like a live iPod commercial. Their live sound is flawless -- almost too much so.
After playing together for more than 15 years, it does seem that live shows have become a mechanical affair for the Faint. At times, it was difficult to tell whether Fink was disinterested, immersed in the music, or strung out. The scarecrow attire didn't assist in alleviating fears over the latter.
The show was good, but verged on boring. There was little to no crowd interaction until the encore, when Fink announced, "You guys fuckin' rock. This has been awesome. This is our first time playing here."
A number of audience members made their way to the top floor balcony to get away from the mosh pit and dance alone, which they frankly could have done at home in their underwear. It sounded the same -- the only difference was the presence of alcohol and a mass of drunken, moshing bodies below.
Critic's bias: Wet From Birth was the dirtiest album of my tweens and served as my favorite pseudo-sex ed course.
Crowd: Punks, hipsters, bikers, hippies -- anyone who listened to Saddle Creek bands in the late '90s and early 2000s.
Overheard: Sean Anonymous talking about bicycle kicking a man who tried to steal his backpack. Also, on Todd Fink: "He looks like Iggy Pop, but isn't aging as well," a woman in the crowd
Notebook dump: Shout out to the doorman who insisted on getting me a warm towel to wipe the bike grease off my leg. Not so much to the Faint's sound guy, who ripped the setlist out of my line of sight when I was trying to write the song titles down.
The Geeks Were Right
Your Retro Career Melted Victim Convenience
Posed to Death
Let the Poison Spill From Your Throat
Take Me to the Hospital
Dropkick the Punks
Help in the Head
Worked Up So Sexual
Lesson from the Darkness
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