The Faint at the Ogden Theatre, 11/8/12
Tom Murphy The Faint last night at the Ogden Theatre
THE FAINT @ OGDEN THEATRE |11/8/12
Even though this was a tour in support of the reissue of Danse Macabre, late in the set, the Faint treated us to a rare cover of "Mote" by Sonic Youth from that band's 1990 album Goo. The haunted vocal delivery was in the spirit of Lee Ranaldo's own but there were no guitars on this cover, just synth and it really accentuated the swirling, dreamlike quality of the original, and the Faint very much made the song its own while giving a nod to an old influence.
Starting the show off with a newer song, "An Unseen Hand," the Faint built up momentum that didn't really let up until the end of the show. When the band went into more familiar territory with "Dropkick the Punks," the audience erupted with cheers. After "Take Me to the Hospital," the flickering, menacing bass line of "Agenda Suicide" got the nine song Danse Macabre set started. Following the order of the vinyl version of the album, the Faint played some of this material live literally for the first time in its entire career because this was the first show of the tour. While the band will work out the entire order of the show along the way, the placement of Danse Macabre in its entirety right in the middle seemed like a good choice.
The percussion heavy "Total Job," with the female spoken word opening sample, was interesting to see with the low end pumping through the speakers. While that song may have seemed odd to perform in the past because of its experimental rhythmic structure, people were really into it at this show. "Violent" was another first, and when it first came out, the collage of sounds and almost hip-hop structure and beat might have been tricky to pull off, but the complex, glitchy rhythm of the song worked well live here.
"Your Retro Career Melted" pulled things back into a more conventionally dance mode, and the audience responded in kind. To be fair, though, this audience was incredibly enthusiastic for every song. And so was the Faint, for that matter. Todd Fink often leaned perilously over to the side and sang up at the mike amid jumping about on stage when he was not engaged directly in playing his Moog. Jacob Thiele basically danced the entire time, whirling around in perfect rhythm with the music, very caught up in the moment. He often caught wind and leapt up and twisted in place in time to hit the notes on his keyboard. Dapose, too, played his instrument like it actually had control.
What was most impressive about this show was how well these guys still play together after a relatively extended break. Having seen the band on its original tour for Danse Macabre in 2001, it seemed like these guys have lost none of their enthusiasm for the material. After "Ballad of a Paralysed Citizen," the Faint dipped into some of its best later material like "The Geeks Were Right" and "Mirror Error."
After the Sonic Youth cover, the main set closed with one of the band's older classics, "Worked Up So Sexual," a song that a surprising number of people knew all the words to. You could tell that the band was both surprised and grateful for the response it got from the folks. We didn't have to wait too long before everyone came back out. The band returned with a new song and followed it up with two newer numbers, "I Disappear" and "Paranoiattack" -- the latter of which found Fink and the audience chanting "Paranoia" at top volume repeatedly toward the end.