By Martin Cizmar With Photos By Benjamin Leatherman
If you want to judge a concert based on how far back the crowd is dancing – and I think it’s a pretty fair way to do it – it would be hard to top The Faint’s show Saturday. Feet weren’t just moving in the first few rows, or in the main clump in front of the stage at the spacious Marquee, they were sliding around all the way back by the soundboard, where some dude in a day-glow hat had his own little rave and where a girl in a gray dress indiscreetly scanned every guy around her in search of a suitable dance partner then, coming up empty, switched to a new spot.
Kicking off the show with “Get Seduced,” the first track on their new record Fasciinatiion, the Omaha dank-punkers were warmly received by a youngish, hipstery crowd. Most bands put anything with keys or a monitor on the far side of the stage, but The Faint put their synthesizer right in the middle of everything, with singer Todd Fink to the left of a stage fitted with LED lights and a projector that shot distorted black and white images on a screen. It was fitting, given the synthesizer’s role in the band’s distinctive brand of sexy-and-slightly-sinister new wave.
Fink – who wore a white lab coat and goggles though the rest of the band was doing the T-shirt thing – was chatty between songs, thanking Tempe for turning out and reminding everyone to vote. Fink was also the only one on stage who moved much while performing, the other guys were focused on playing, the guitarist and bassist trading instruments a few times and drummer Clark Baechle having his hands full keeping up with the band's spiny electronic rhythms. The crowd ate it up: dancing, bopping, chanting, and crowd surfing.
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The band stayed close to the recorded versions of familiar songs, making it’s way through most of Fasciination in a 19-song set (full setlist below). The strongest new songs, “Psycho” and the first single “The Geeks Were Right,” were well-received though, predictably, the older material proved more popular. The concert had a nice sprinkling in the older stuff, including a couple songs from Blank-Wave Arcade, the band’s second record, which came out nearly a decade ago. Material from Danse Macabre and Wet from Birth really got the bodies moving, with “Glass Danse,” the second song, setting things off and a chant-along to the chorus of “Paranoiattack” closing things out pre-encore.
It was a loud show, and it seemed to get even louder during the encore, with the bass to “Agenda Suicide” rattling my teeth like nothing I’ve heard in awhile, and I saw Metallica last week. No one seemed to notice though – they were all dancing.
Last Night: The Faint with The Show Is The Rainbow and Medic Droid at Marquee Theatre on Nov. 1.
Better Than: Any other dance party, club or rave on this hungover post-Halloween Saturday.
Personal Bias: They played only one of my four or five-starred Faint songs. I was sure hoping to hear “Phone Call,” “Symptom Finger” and “How Could I Forget.” Sigh.
Random Detail: I had no chance of getting one of the setlists from the stage. The band’s biggest fans were lined up right after the houselights flicked on. I was barely able to get some girl to let me gaze upon her precious list and verify the number of songs.
Further Listening: “Willow Wood,” off The Faint’s first album, 1995’s Sine Sierra. Back then the band was called Norman Bailer and featured Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst, who sings the song.
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By the Way:The crowd surfing brought me joy, only because it seemed so out of place. Setlist:
Get Seduced (Fasciinatiion) Glass Danse (Danse Macabre) Drop Kick The Punks (Wet from Birth) Take Me To The Hospital (Saddle Creek 50) Forever Growing Centipedes (Fasciinatiion) Psycho (Fasciinatiion) Call Call (Blank-Wave Arcade) Posed to Death (Danse Macabre) Desperate Guys (Wet From Birth) Machine In The Ghost (Fasciinatiion) Birth (Wet from Birth) I Disappear (Wet from Birth) I Treat You Wrong (Fasciinatiion) The Geeks Were Right (Fasciinatiion) Worked Up So Sexual (Blank-Wave Arcade) Paranoiattack (Wet from Birth)
Mirror Error (Fasciinatiion) The Conductor (Danse Macabre) Agenda Suicide (Danse Macabre)