Show Review: The Faint @ Emos (11.28)

For me, seeing The Faint was a necessity and a desire, nostalgically taking me back to early 2000 and my discovery of the group via Saddle Creek fandom.  They came into a packed house at Emos on Wednesday night to relive the hits from Danse Macabre.  They brought with them Icky Blossoms and Trust, so it was a solid line-up for all.

Read on for thoughts and photos.

Photo Guy Note: We had access to shoot the entire show. Tons of pics, Icky Blossoms were photogenic so enjoy.

My experience with Icky Blossoms is somewhat minimal, having only given a handful of their tunes the fully deserved attention.  That being said, I thought they were a solid opening act, creating music somewhere between the realm of DFA 1979 and The Faint.  The group expanded their live set to a five piece, which definitely upped the energy a great bit.  Guitarist Nik Fakler wins the award for the most energetic, though I would have liked the noise from his guitar to be turned up slightly.  Their self-titled album on Saddle Creek is out, and after seeing their live set, it seems I might need to invest more time in some listens.

Following the Omaha act came Trust, who’ve continued to impress, both musically and performance.  For me, the setting of Emos seemed far more suiting to the music of the group, as opposed to their set at Fun Fun Fun Fest, but again, the performance was top-notch. Singer Robert Alfons has two things going for him: his voice and his dance moves.  His voice has an incredible range, though I’m not one-hundred percent sold on the fact it’s not digitally altered.  Regardless, it’s range from deep to extremely soft  is fitting for the music.  As for his dance moves, well, I can’t stop watching the guy.  There’s a spiritual frivolity as he slings his arms about, jumping across the stage.  My mind keeps conjuring the image of Jimmy from the Wizard all grown up entranced by electronic music.  I can watch these guys again and again.

Then came time for the Faint.  I hadn’t seen the group since 2003, and at that time Danse Macabre was always in heavy rotation.  My excitement to see the act was all balanced by my role as a “journalist,” so I had two ways to look at the show.  They opened with some great hits like “Drop Kick the Punks” and “Take Me to the Hospital,” which seemed to get the crowd ready to dance away the night.  During these first few tracks though, I started to notice something a bit off in the set.

For starters, the act has been trimmed down to a mere four piece, which had multiple effects on the band’s sound.  First, the guitar parts were absent far too often, even when they were programmed into the electronics. I always adored the band because they were able to include so much live, but the absence of a member definitely left much to be desired.  Then comes the issue with the drums: they are no longer electronic.  I’m not saying I don’t appreciate the inclusion of real drums in the set, but it took a bit of the sharpness away from the dancier tracks.  It ended up lacking some of the punch it deserved, but things change and bands evolve.  My last point of contention was Clark–and I acknowledge that this is sort of a dick comment.  His garb, in my eyes was a representation of some Mancunian pop act rather than the over-sexualized persona of old.  Still, there was plenty to be happy about.

One can argue that there are better Faint songs than those on Danse Macabre, but for my two cents, it’s the most complete record they put together in their career.  Seeing it performed live in its entirety was something special, and judging by the reaction of the crowd, it was definitely successful.  Of course, the performance was also great, but this is a band that have never had issues with that. From the lights to the stage energy, they killed it, just as they always have.  In the end, I’m stuck on the fence here.  My nostalgic heart loved the show and the ability to get to see the Faint again.  Then again, I definitely have issues with how the band sounds and their execution.  Perhaps it’s not the band that has evolved, but me, so don’t take things written here too seriously.

More pics at the photo site

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