As I walked into the Fonda last Sunday, it dawned on me that I had a snowboarding video game, SSX 3, to thank for my introduction to The Faint nine years ago. After hearing Paul Oakenfold’s remix of their track “Glass Danse” while clumsily conquering the first peak of the game, I purchased the band’s third studio album, Danse Macabre, from the now-defunct Tower Records thus beginning my obsession with the Omaha-native new wave/indie band. Although The Faint has since come out with two additional studio albums, Danse Macabre is unquestionably the nearest and dearest to my heart, so I was naturally really fucking stoked when they announced a tour in which they’d be playing Danse Macabre in its entirety.
My night kicked off with a dreamy, drum-driven set from The Casket Girls. Fronted by Elsa and Phaedra Greene, two platinum blonde twins that could easily be confused for Lady Gaga pre-meat dress era, The Casket Girls were a delightfully quirky bunch. On their Facebook page, they categorize themselves as “eerie-pop.” I’m seconding that classification.
Toronto-natives Trust took the stage next. Their dark, industrial-sounding synth beats paired fittingly with Robert Alfons’ sinfully dirty vocals and borderline schizophrenic dance moves. The group’s sound was, at times, slightly muddled but overall eccentrically listenable. It wouldn’t surprise me to see their name on any one of the major SoCal festival’s lineup poster in the near future.
The final act of the night was, of course, The Faint. They opened their set with “Unseen Hand,” a track from their latest EP, Evil Voices, and continued to entice the audience with several tracks from their non-Danse Macabre releases. The audience, though appreciative, seemingly exercised a degree of restraint during these first few tracks. I suspect that they, like me, were waiting with bated breath for any one of the beloved tracks from Danse Macabre.
My suspicions were confirmed when the familiar opening beats of “Agenda Suicide” began to fill the venue, eliciting raucous cheers throughout the audience. Fittingly, the screen behind the band that had remained off throughout the introductory part of the set was switched on. Scenes from the music video for “Agenda Suicide” were prominently displayed as the crowd danced frenetically.
The Faint followed their jaw-dropping live rendition of “Agenda Suicide” with the song that introduced me to the band, “Glass Danse,” effortlessly continuing the previous track’s explosive momentum. The mind-blowing, heart-stopping, face-melting set highlight, however, was undoubtedly “Let The Poison Spill From Your Throat.” Because I’m an annoyingly fastidious nerd, I like to take copious notes during shows to aid in my review writing efforts. My notes from “Let The Poison Spill From Your Throat” consisted of a mere two words:”Holy. Shit.”
I’m a bit hesitant to list the other tracks from Danse Macabre that I found to be noteworthy for fear of implying that the rest of the set was anything less than absolutely sublime. I did, however, particularly enjoy “Violent” and “Your Retro Career Melted.” As I’ve already said, though, this is me picking out the cream of an already phenomenal crop.
Since Danse Macabre’s run time is only 35 minutes, The Faint finished out the rest of the set with tracks from their other albums. That momentum that they had established earlier continued steadfastly throughout the remainder of the show. They blasted through the first set’s closer, “Worked Up So Sexual,” before taking the stage again for their encore set, which concluded with the venue-shaking finisher, Wet From Birth’s ”Paranoiattack.”
Music aside, the band members themselves deserve props for the sheer amount of energy they put into their live shows. From start to finish, all four members of The Faint were in a state of constant motion (so much so that my photographer mentioned it was damn well near impossible to get a good shot of them because they were bouncing around too much). The audience seemingly fed off The Faint’s energy as they were equally lively, jumping and dancing through an impressively lengthy 22-song set with no sign of fatigue.
Given that I just recently declared The Presets’ set at Club Nokia to be one of the best of 2012, I’m extremely reluctant to bestow another set with the same honor within such a short time period. But if I’m to be entirely honest with myself (and you), The Faint’s set last Sunday more than deserves to be put on the same level. The group’s show was magnificently frenzied from start to finish and a perfect homage to one of my favorite albums from one of my favorite bands.
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