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.
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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.
Earlier in the evening, Trust performed a set that essentially featured Robert Alfons dancing and singing while Maya Postepski and another synth player provided the music and beats. Fortunately, Alfons proved an unconventionally charismatic figure who wore what looked like some kind of industrial jump suit, like he was in one of those late '80s industrial bands, except doing the kind of music that you'd imagine would have been very welcome at the Hacienda in the late '80s.
A full, breathy sound sent the music out in a constant, eddying flow, and the beat, though very simple, was hypnotic. For his part, Alfons seemed to be very good at switching from a lower voice to mid-range vocals to what sounded like it could be pitch shifted sounds but was really an excellent and controlled falsetto.
Even though Potepski and the other keyboardist didn't move nearly as much as Alfons, for their part, you could tell they were having fun, and at one point Potepski even had a good laugh at picking up one of the fog machines off the floor and letting the jets spray higher into the air. It also didn't hurt that whoever was providing the light let some interesting contrasting color overlaps happen as a vibrant red met in the middle at a diagonal with a radiant green at one point. It fit the music, which recalled New Order, perfectly.
Personal Bias: Eleven years ago, I went to see the Denver band Rainbow Sugar in Boulder opening for some band called The Faint. I didn't know who they were at the time, but I've been a fan since.
Random Detail: There were a lot of different, interesting T-shirt designs last night, as well as an option for both the deluxe reissue of Danse Macabre and the non-deluxe version, both on CD and vinyl. Now a reissue of Blank Wave Arcade is due.
By the Way: The debut Trust album, TRST, is highly recommended for anyone into a more retro electronic sound or bands like Purity Ring, Neon Indian and Washed Out.
The Faint Ogden Theatre - 11/8/12 Denver, CO
An Unseen Hand Drop Kick the Punks Desperate Guys [?] Take Me to the Hospital Agenda Suicide Glass Danse Total Job Let the Poison Spill From Your Throat Violent Your Retro Career Melted Posed to Death The Conductor Ballad of a Paralysed Citizen The Geeks Were Right Call Call Mirror Error Mote (Sonic Youth cover) Worked Up Sexual
[Evil Forces] I Disappear Paranoiattack
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