Back in 2001, I was lucky enough to catch The Faint on consecutive nights at Bowery Ballroom and North Six. Each night, they took forever to set up, but it was well worth the wait. Both shows started the same way—keyboardist Jacob Thiele stood front center on a dark stage singing the slow-moving "Sealed Human." Fog, strobes, and the thunderous metal guitar playing of Dapose all ignited with perfect timing to make for the perfect start to two of the finest live performances I’ve ever seen. This was The Faint at their peak. Danse Macabre had just been released, and with the addition of Dapose on guitar, their live sound had been given an extra boost.
Following the release of Wet From Birth, I saw them at Webster Hall. Though the band had implemented the element of video into their performances, the concert wasn’t quite as moving as back in 2001.
Then, until releasing new single "The Geeks Were Right" in June, they seemed to have disappeared. Spending nearly four years between Wet From Birth and 2008’s Fasciinatiion, The Faint took the risk of being forgotten, and a lot has changed in these last four years, while people have grown to have less and less of an attention span. Plenty of bands have come and gone under the hysteria of hype, and the ’80s retro dance revival scene that The Faint helped create is no longer what it was. So, it was interesting to see the band booked at Terminal 5—the largest venue the band has ever headlined in New York City (which singer Todd Fink acknowledged during the performance). Though they didn’t sell it out in advance, and the club seemed to be almost empty until after the two opening performances, they did manage to fill the place.
Just like the old days, The Faint took forever to finally take the stage. Nearly an hour passed between the severely under-appreciated performance by Anti Pop Consortium and The Faint’s first note, but with Joel Peterson’s first rumbling bass-line on "Agenda Suicide," all was forgiven. Everything clicked into place for The Faint last night as they triumphantly returned to their perch as one of the country’s best live bands. Wonderful projected video created a beautiful backdrop, while the band was showered with insane pulsating lights and strobes. The entire band played with a load of energy—especially Todd Fink, who danced around the stage looking like a mad scientist, wearing black goggles and a white trench coat.
Their set consisted of a handful of their best songs from each of their four albums. [We'll just pretend Media never existed. They do.]. New songs like "The Geeks Were Right" and "Psycho" mixed in well but never got the crowd moving like classics "Worked Up So Sexual" and "Glass Danse." It seems like they’ve been gone for quite some time, and last night’s performance was a very welcome return. Let’s just hope they don’t another four years between records and tours.
Photos by Jonny-Leather