When Omaha dance-punkers The Faint last took the stage in Los Angeles, it was at the 1,200-person capacity Fonda Theatre, so I was more than a little surprised when I heard they had booked the Roxy Theatre, which, while sporting an illustrious music history, only accommodates about 500. Angelenos seemed to have been in agreement as they bought out the allotment of tickets for Friday’s show almost as soon as they were released, prompting the addition of a second show. Followed by a third.
I can’t say I wasn’t excited by the prospect of seeing one of my favorite bands in a venue that intimate. Since the last couple performances I’d caught from them — the aforementioned stop at The Fonda along with a massive festival set at Coachella 2013 — The Faint has gone on to release studio album number six, Doom Abuse. I was more than a little curious to see how it would fare live, especially after my chat with frontman Todd Fink earlier last week during which Fink said he had envisioned playing venues like The Roxy while writing the tracks for the latest release.
When I arrived at The Roxy, a shirtless Darren Keen was on the decks laying down bass wobble after bass wobble, his long hair and beard swaying in time to the music when not obstructed by what can be best described as a sparkly KKK-hood. Overall an enjoyable set.
Next up was Reptar, who had won me over from the get-go with their Rugrats-referencing band name. Taking nostalgic throwbacks out of the equation, Reptar threw down a memorable set laden with booming brass and laid-back vibes. Reminiscent of Alex Ebert (of Ima Robot and Edward Sharpe and the Magentic Zeroes fame), vocalist Graham Ulicny tied the whole sound together with his eccentric stylings.
The excitement in the air was palpable when The Faint took the stage, and it continued from the opening notes of Doom Abuse’s “Animal Needs” through the final bits of what is perhaps the group’s most well-known track, encore set closer “Glass Danse.” You’d expect singles like “The Geeks Were Right” and “I Disappear” to generate the most vocal singalongs from the audience, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that lesser-known tracks such as “Posed To Death” and “Take Me To The Hospital” received their fair share of faithful recitation.
Expectantly, many of the tracks from Doom Abuse were highlighted for this particular set. The live rendition of the surfer rock-tinged “Mental Radio” was solid as was the encore set opener “Lesson From The Darkness,” but the star of the Doom Abuse tracks was unequivocally “Evil Voices,” whose driving guitar chorus yielded a crazed audience and a (thankfully) small mosh pit.
Still, I reserve the honor of best in show to “Let The Poison Spill From Your Throat.” It’s not a particularly surprising choice when you consider that it’s my absolute favorite track The Faint’s catalog (so much so that I sent the band a tweet following their gig at The Fonda asking them to play it at every future show), but the groovy verses and the in-your-face chorus along with the energy accompanying the track speaks for itself.
Despite an equipment malfunction that sidelined them for close to ten minutes, the band was unmistakably on point. A lengthy, 22-song set seemed to go by quickly, and despite the fact that my post-work Friday night self was admittedly a little sleepy going into the show, I felt thoroughly caffeinated by the time I left. Fink’s on-stage energy was contagious, and guitarist Dapose got more than a little sweaty throughout the course of the evening.
All in all, The Faint threw down a more than memorable set that the crowd at The Roxy was very visibly and audibly appreciative of. Though I’m possibly a smidgen partial to their set at The Fonda two years back (largely in part because they played Danse Macabre in its entirety), they’re always an absolutely incredible act to catch live regardless of the circumstances. I can’t recommend them enough.
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